MPs to conclude budget debate today, hear gov’t response before voting

1. Budget Debate (AK)
Ministers attend a Lower House debate on the general budget draft law on February 13, 2022. MPs are set to vote on the bill on Monday. (Photo: Ameer Khalifeh/Jordan News)
AMMAN — The Lower House continued discussing the two draft laws of the general budget and the budgets of government units for the fiscal year 2022 during its session Sunday, headed by Speaker Abdul Karim Al-Doghmi, and in the presence of Prime Minister Bisher Al-Khasawneh and a number of ministers, Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.اضافة اعلان

On Monday morning, deputies will complete the discussion of the budget laws, and listen to the government’s response to their statements, before voting on the two laws, chapter by chapter, based on the provisions of the Constitution (Article 112) and the internal system of the House of Representatives (Article 82), as well as voting on the recommendations of the Parliamentary Finance Committee. By Sunday 98 deputies had spoken since the debate began last Monday.

In Sunday’s session, deputies stressed on the importance of bringing about a qualitative change in economic policies to bring the national economy out of a state of slowdown, and the consequent serious economic and social repercussions, represented in the unprecedented high rates of poverty and unemployment, in addition to the public debt which had reached record levels.

They called for a review of government policies in order to enhance financial and monetary stability and stimulate exports, push forward the wheel of economic growth and achieve real growth rates that create new jobs. They called for reducing unjustified consumer and government spending, shift towards progressive taxation, merge and abolish independent bodies, in addition to strengthening social protections. They stressed the need to stop increasing financial burdens on citizens, removing all obstacles to investment and exploitation of natural resources and to build support for political, economic and administrative reforms and democratic openness, and rejection of the water agreement with Israel.

They demanded an increase in the salaries of workers and retirees, stopping the sewage services tax in areas where sewage service is not available, filling vacancies of the Ministry of Education from those who have applied through the Civil Service Bureau, including all university students applying for loans and grants provided by the Poor Student Fund while calling for increasing the fund's allocations. They also called for granting approvals for delivering water and electricity to all citizens, stimulating the economy to create jobs, developing alternative plans in case the sectors are not opened due to the coronavirus pandemic, issuing an amnesty for convicts, increasing the salaries of martyrs’ families, and looking into the conditions of military retirees before 2012.

The speeches also dealt with supporting the efforts of the Jordan Armed Forces and security services to preserve the security of the homeland, developing the tourism, agriculture, industry and information technology sectors, addressing the weakness of institutional work, the transition from academic education to vocational and technical education, and consideration of excluding high-temperature areas (the Jordan Valley and Aqaba) from the new electricity tariff, especially in the summer. They also called for allowing productive economic sectors to generate electricity from renewable energy, collect money owed to the Treasury, in addition to meeting provincial areas’ service demands and upgrading and creating administrative units there.

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