Parliament debates sales tax draft

Prime Minister Bisher Al-Khasawneh (second from left in the first row) and members of the Cabinet stand at the opening of Parliament’s extraordinary summer session Wednesday. (Photo: Ameer Khalifeh/Jordan News)
AMMAN — In the opening session of its extraordinary summer session, Parliament began debate of a draft law amending the General Sales Tax Law, according to the Jordan News Agency, Petra. اضافة اعلان

The meeting was presided over by Parliament Speaker Abdul Karim Al-Dughmi and attended by Prime Minister Bisher Al-Khasawneh and other Cabinet officials.

It is the first meeting for the elected 130-seat parliament after a short summer break. It reconvened to legislate 12 bills, some considered significant for reviving Jordan’s economic activity, which came nearly to a standstill following the COVID-19 pandemic.

That includes an investment promotion bill, which projects eased government procedures to attract a flow of foreign capital needed to jumpstart the economy, envisaged to grow by 2.1 percent this year.

The economy-related bills are a pillar of an Economic Modernization Vision launched last June under the supervision of His Majesty King Abdullah.

The vision will be implemented in three phases over 10 years. It comprises 366 initiatives in various sectors. They are part and parcel of eight economic growth drivers, which envisage attaining a wide ranging sustainable growth and generating jobs, according to a Royal Court statement.

During Wednesday’s session, head of the House Economy and Investment Committee Al-Khair Abu Sailek said the bill neither hikes taxes, nor imposes new ones. He explained that it aims at addressing loopholes in the old law, adding that the amendments were sought by private sector firms.

In a separate development, deputies had a preliminary reading of the draft child rights law for 2022, then referred it to more specialized lawmakers from the legal, women and family affairs committees.

Referral was due to the draft’s importance in protecting children and addressing issues related to education, school dropout, kindergarten expansion, healthcare, and protection from violence, according to a House statement.

Other lawmakers stressed the need to “exercise diligence” in debating the bill’s articles and listen to all points of view, in a bid to ensure that religion-based values are not violated, the statement added.

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