General budget falls short of expectations, say MPs, others

(Photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — Lawmakers on Wednesday described the general budget for 2022 as “traditional” and containing nothing that could help tackle economic challenges.اضافة اعلان

The House of Representatives continued discussing the agenda of the ninth session for the third day; the agenda includes the general budget and the budgets of government units draft laws for the year 2022.

Political and administrative reform, economic policies, and the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, topped the parliamentary discussions.

Deputies’ demands included: adopting plans for economic recovery, dealing with the budget deficit, indebtedness, and the significant rise in unemployment and poverty rates, a road map to attract investment, and individual demands for services for their respective constituencies.

MP Omar Ayasrah told Jordan News that the budget is below Jordanians’ expectations and will not help deal with urgent issues, such as unemployment.

Ayasrah said that his bloc will not approve the budget unless the government meets its demand, which is not to fine citizens who did not pay income or sales taxes, or failed to pay their dues to municipalities. Another demand is to extend the grace period during which individuals have to pay inheritance registration fees, or property sale taxes for apartments and lands until the end of this year, said Ayasrah.

MP Majid Rawashdeh told Jordan News that the capital expenditure on tourism, standing at JD79 million, is “humble”, given the volume of income the sector generates.

Rawashdeh also said that the total spending on the water sector, JD16 million, is very low, and asked that it be increased, particularly to help find new water sources.

Economist Zayan Zawaneh told Jordan News that 80 percent of the budget goes to salaries of public employees and retirees, but there is no spending on economic development.

“This is the result of fiscal policies of governments over the past 10 years, which were not in line with His Majesty King Abdullah’s directives to focus on economic development,” Zawaneh said. He added that there are around 25 independent institutions and commissions that could be merged with relevant ministries to save money.

There should be a three of five-year plan to restructure the budget and focus on stimulating the economy by launching strategic projects in vital sectors, such as transport and renewable energy, and by increasing an efficient partnership between the public and the private sectors, he added.

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