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January 20 2022 3:32 PM ˚
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Increase citizen’s trust in government

Omar Eltaweel
(Photo: Jordan News)
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It is agreed in political jurisprudence that democracy and governance require a nation to allow its citizens to participate in decisions related to public policies, development projects and programs that affect their daily lives, to say the least.اضافة اعلان

The world is changing rapidly, affecting culture, transactions, communication in the fields of science, technology and innovation, and this increases the level of public access to information about government decisions and actions, whether the government wishes to disclose such information willingly or not, hence public participation in policy making became a necessity.

Such participation would help address the lack of trust Jordanian citizens have in the government. 

The public sector is the driving force of economic growth; it helps the economy by minimizing government budgets, sharpening its competitive advantage and delivering public goods and services with new and innovative approaches. However, citizens’ participation, whether through helping design public policies and decisions or through financial participation in development projects and programs, will make it easier to accomplish these goals.

This article focuses on the role transparency and disclosure of information plays in decreasing the mistrust with which citizens view the government, and on the distinctive role citizens’ investment in public projects can play in the local market, especially in the Jordanian stock market.

Jordanian citizens’ participation could be secured through transparent governance, through certain platforms – online or offline – and through participation in the decision-making process, which would make it easy to monitor the implementation mechanisms.

Transparency is the proof and base of any government’s integrity, citizen empowerment and accountability. Moreover, a high degree of “transparency” can reduce the gap between citizens and government and enhance the quality of public decisions (Kim and Lee, 2017). According to Abelson and Gauvin (2006), studies have proved that availability of knowledge and increased levels of direct interest enhance the social bond and trust between citizens and their government (Zazou, 2020).

If citizens reach any level of satisfaction with the outcome of their public participation, their trust in policymakers increases. Citizens’ exposure to correct, qualified, information is essential for building a bridge of trust between them and their government.

When people are convinced of and committed to certain public programs, which serve the public interest, for example, the feelings of patriotism, civic duty, and loyalty to the government make themselves felt. 

Policymakers and leaders should tailor their policies and strategies in a manner that shows appreciation for the Jordanian citizens’ financial participation in public projects. Encouraging and engaging citizens in financing national projects will generate feelings of direct ownership of projects and policies, educate citizens on the benefit of such participation, and ensure and facilitate automated accessibility of data and information regarding such projects.

Establishing a platform to promote dialogue between citizens and local elected representatives, and making sure that citizens can play a direct part in decision making is equally important.

The government could start with projects that are of great interest to Jordanians, like the desalination of Red Sea water and energy for water projects; in the case of the latter, the declaration of intent signed with Israel has elicited all sorts of feelings, patriotism included. People are ready to invest in this project; the government should strive to earn people’s trust, declare this a national project and get citizens to invest in it. Will it seize this opportunity?

Omar Eltaweel is a Jordanian lawyer, managing partner at Taweel & Co. Law firm, and enthusiastic about spreading awareness for a civil society.

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