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An urgent mission that will not await political reform

Khitan' - Copy
By Fahed Khitan (Photo: Jordan News)
Jordanian from all walks of life have recognized the need for further political reform. The latest crisis has stirred this sentiment more than before.اضافة اعلان

The government had responded to Royal Directives, shortly after parliamentary elections were held, regarding the need to review laws regulating parliamentary and partisan life in the country. Days ago, a ministerial committee began tackling this mission. However, no matter how profound the intended political reform is, its impact on the method of governance and the results of altering partisan life on the economy will not be tangible any time soon. The reform process needs a few years before it comes to fruition in the form of tangible change.

This is not a call to abandon the reform project, but rather a push to quickly move forward and cut down on as many stages as possible. But to reach that stage, a major challenge faces the state; one that cannot be shelved: Worsening unemployment, especially following the onset of the pandemic.

We are facing a rolling ball of fire, now that unemployment rates have crossed a red line of 25 percent. Figures show that at least 400,000 young men and women are looking for jobs in the Kingdom. According to a Jordan Labor Watch report, based on Department of Statistics figures, unemployment grew by some 80,000, compared to 2019, at a 24 percent increase rate. A recent Workers’ House report found that the economic aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic on the labor market, surpassed that of 1989 economic crisis.

The pandemic has also revealed a shortage in social protection programs for workers, less than half of whom are not covered by such initiatives. This has deprived hundreds of thousands of people from receiving any form of support due to being unemployed and the closure of sectors.

The Social Security Corporation has made considerable efforts to cover as many people as possible under its services and programs, but the impact of the crisis has been too great to be treated in the course of a few months.

We cannot wait for political reform and an elected, parliamentary, and partisan government to address this serious challenge. State institutions and the private sector must cooperate quickly to stimulate the national economy and kickstart postponed project plans and open doors to investment without obstacle or administrative excuses, to create tens of thousands of jobs and increase economic growth rates.

Today, we need large and small projects, business and entrepreneurial initiatives, including by the youth, in addition to all possible tax incentives to encourage investors to start new projects.

Economic policy must be steered first and foremost towards serving the labor market, preparing and employing the unemployed, and ensuring they are all subscribed to social security and health insurance.

The public sector is incapable of creating notable change in this regard, the challenge is tied to the private sector’s role.

Otherwise, the anger of the unemployed will blow up in our face and may not give political reform the chance to continue marching towards its objectives.

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