Economic reform starts here

Salameh Darawi
Salameh Darawi (Photo: Jordan News)
The government cannot move forward with a national economic program that is independent from the reform program with the International Monetary Fund, which is the entity responsible for laying out the government’s trajectory in implementing a number of policies throughout the program’s course.اضافة اعلان

This does not mean that the government take economic reform measures in sync with the IMF program, this of course, requires members of the government and the lower house to be on the same page.

The steps of economic reform that the government can immediately start with the public budget by halting lending to cover operating expenses, and replacing them with loans allocated to revenue-generating projects, which requires the government to have an investment roadmap for projects that aim to enhance economic security and increase competition in the local business environment, enabled by actual cooperation with the private sector. Unfortunately most loans go towards covering the government’s operating expenses, including wages, which is pointless.

The next economic step entails embedding the importance of training, evaluation and accountability of the state’s administrative staff, which is considered today a negative pressure tool. This demands the restructuring of the entire public sector using a new set of principles that eschew favoritism and nepotism.

This step also includes changing the principles of job security and immunity that protect employees of the public sector despite shortcomings in their work, implementing accountability and rewarding people based on their achievement, but unfortunately, with the current system, an employee cannot be fired regardless of the severity of their mistakes, legal provisions are not reasonable in that regard.

The government must put an end to the increasingly negative employment spending which is a result of societal pressure applied on the government to increase salaries, bonuses and job appointments, as they are granted to everyone without evaluation.

This matter needs a detailed plan to fix services and facilities, we in Jordan have what it takes regarding facilities and capabilities to deal with citizens and investors, but the quality of services drops by the day, due to increasing nepotism at government bodies and the lack of qualified staff to run them.

We do not need new hospitals and medical centers, but rather component medical staff, capable of dealing with patients in a civil manner. The same applies to medical, educational, and financial institutions, and municipalities.

The best way to combat administrative corruption is to digitalize services as Saudi Arabia did where all services to citizens and investors are done electronically in record-breaking time, but today we still at square one in electronic government despite being the first to propose it.

We desperately need real partnership with the private sector regarding the decision making process. The government is unaware of problems in the work environment, unlike the private sector. We can not make decisions and implement laws without cooperation with the private sector.

Economic reform cannot happen without fostering the rule of law as a matter of principle and the protection of society from obstacles that delay progress in favor of the personal interests of some.

Reform mechanisms are not costly and can be carried out without hesitation, and this is not an issue that concerns the Minister of Finance alone, but the entire government as long as it is serious about reform.

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