A crime against economy

Salameh daraawi
Salameh Darawi (Photo: Jordan News)
Every time I remember the GCC grant Jordan obtained as of 2013, worth $3.6 billion, and that it has had no positive impact on the national economy, a feeling of shock and resentment overwhelms me.اضافة اعلان

How come funds of this volume enter the Treasury in the form of a cash grant and they do not contribute to economic growth, which remained at its modest lower limit of 2 percent?

During that period, the government exercised all its constitutional powers and had full jurisdiction over the administration of the state affairs. During its more-than-four-year tenure, it received a $3.6 billion, yet the budget deficit increased and indebtedness rose by $8 million. Doesn’t it make more sense that the funds should have been used to cover the budgetary capital expenditure, which was covered through loans?

Isn’t it insane that this government spent more than a billion dollars from the grant on “asphalt mixes” for roads that had no added value for the national economy, while the rest of the spending was on projects unfeasible for the state in terms of development and investment?

Where is the sense in spending all the grant funds on sporadic projects, while the government was well aware that the most serious and most challenging problem it had was the strangulating water crisis? Wouldn’t it have been more feasible if the money, which was saved in a special account at the Central Bank of Jordan, was earmarked to a water desalination project? After all, all studies point out that such a strategic project is the only solution to the water shortage Jordan suffers from, with an estimated cost of $2-3 billion. The solution would have been there, accessible to numerous economic and investment sectors, let alone is that it helps achieve strategic security for the state.

Our brethren in Morocco also obtained a $5 billion Gulf grant, which was all invested in one strategic project: transportation. They built railways, which are now among the best and most modern in the region, while our (unwise) government squandered the funds among projects that were not feasible economically or in term of investment.   

The current water crisis Jordan is experiencing cannot end this summer or the next one. On the contrary, it is getting increasingly deeper as time goes by, while the government remains reluctant to take the decisive strategic decision pertaining to irrigation water. 

The largest impediment to reform in Jordan is not the lack of financial resources, as some think, but the slow responses and rigidness of thinking that have engulfed entire governments and their officials, who have missed the opportunity to carry out reforms and development, simply because they were too occupied with their personal interests and due to their narrow-mindedness, which prevented them from detecting the survival needs of the nation.

The GCC grant and the way it was managed pose as an undeniable proof of the administration’s failure in employing the assistance the right way and in the manner that serves the country and its strategic interests. Nevertheless, we have found that they have not been held accountable for this failure, which is more harmful to the state than any of the talked about cases of corruption since the establishment of Transjordan. There is no crime committed against the national economy more serious than the crime of managing the file of the GCC grant, which just evaporated.

Read more opinions