Clearance companies ask for SSC recovery program inclusion

SSC Jason
The Association of Owners of Clearance and Transport Companies has asked the Social Security Corporation to reinclude the sector in its COVID-recovery program. (Photo: JNews)
AMMAN — The Association of Owners of Clearance and Transport Companies has asked that the Social Security Corporation (SSC) reinclude its sector within the “Estidama” program, or the “Taafi” recovery program.اضافة اعلان

The Estidama (sustainability) and Taafi (recovery) programs aim to help workers across sectors get their full wages, and to help the establishments they work for transition to normal operation when fully recovered from the economic impacts of the pandemic.

In an interview with Jordan News, the association’s president, Daifallah Abu Aqoleh, said that clearance companies are among those that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. “At that time, the Prime Ministry issued a decision to establish the Estidama program to compensate those affected. It allotted JD200 million to the program, part of it from the government and the rest from social security, for this purpose.”

The clearance sector is one of those that is mentioned in the press on a monthly basis and about the extent of the damage it has sustained due to the closures of customs and border points, Abu Aqolah contended, adding that the matter is clear enough and does not need further examination.

Abu Aqoleh said that clearance companies have already been included in social security under the Estidama program after the damage to these companies from the pandemic was confirmed.

He said there was a condition set that those companies affected by the loss of business need to prove that damage to their business exceeded 30 percent. 

“Although this condition was considered unfair, we acquiesced to it. But we cannot deny that any percentage (of loss of business) that is less than 30 percent is also damaging and needs assistance like other companies,” Abu Aqoleh said.

“Two months ago, a program dubbed Taafi or recovery was created, which is similar to the Estidama program, and they decided to switch some sectors over to this new program. However, clearance companies were not included in the Taafi program, and they were not retained under the old Estidama program,” he explained.

Abu Aqoleh said that after borders were opened, some people thought that clearance companies would recover instantly, but this was not the case. “Our sector needs at least a year to be able to return to what it was like before the COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.

The association president stressed that the clearance sector is suffering a lot. Business owners are very angry, and they don’t yet know what could happen in the future. “Therefore, we demand the reinclusion of clearance companies in the Estidama program because they deserve to be included. They are strictly committed to making their periodic payments to the SSC,” Abu Aqoleh underlined.

Clearance companies are owned solely by Jordanians, as the nature of their work at border checkpoints requires it. “Therefore, those who are demanding their rights are citizens who deserve assistance under these circumstances,” he said.

Abu Aqoleh said he spoke about this two weeks ago in the media, where he clarified his sector’s demands, but did not get any response from the SSC. “Despite our attempts to communicate directly with those involved in this matter, the answer has always been ‘we are looking into the matter’,” he said.

In remarks to Jordan News, SSC spokesperson Shaman Al-Majali said: “We have announced that we are now receiving applications to join the Estidama program from each company or facility that applies individually. It must be accompanied by financial data showing that the company is still being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. We then deal with it according to the standards and principles established by the Defense Order Committee, and we will certainly apply this to any individual case that comes to us.”

When asked about the association’s demands, Majali said: “There are committees that have been established with the aim of researching the financial statements submitted by establishments individually, and appropriate decisions are being made on that basis. These committees are working on this now.” 

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