September 25 2022 7:13 AM E-paper Subscribe Sign in My Account Sign out

What we also want from the government

Maher Abu Tair (Photo: JNews)
The economy seems to be the most important issue these days, particularly in light of the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy, and many of its sectors, an impact that the government is the first to acknowledge.اضافة اعلان

The government’s announcement of a new economic package, valued at JD448 million, aimed at alleviating the ramifications of the pandemic, includes providing more than 14,000 jobs in various sectors, even if they are for the short term, pumping liquidity into the market by paying the government’s debts to the health sector, and paying for land expropriations, among others.

The announcement also included cuts to fines, fees and a number of taxes, and delayed payments for government credit corporations. This was preceded by the decision allowing the postponement of April’s bank loan payment for borrowers who wish to take the offer, coinciding with the month of Ramadan.

These are all good and needed solutions, and more are needed in the coming period.

This package will eventually turn into cash in people’s hands, indicating that the government is aware of the severe difficulty of people’s economic conditions.

Prior to this package, there was Istidamah (sustainability) program for supporting companies with JD200 million, with fund from the government and the Social Security Corporation, as well as Takaful (solidarity) program for daily-wage workers and underprivileged families, not to mention measures taken by the previous government, which targeted struggling families and the private sector.

These solutions might not completely change the reality, but it will mitigate the situation.

The moral of the story is that we are in the midst of an economic crisis that requires fundamental solutions, particularly for sectors that were excluded from these packages, such as the tourism sector, the activities of which have been suspended for more than a year so far, including hotels and travel agencies, not to mention the garments sector, severely impacted restaurants that need a mitigation of work restrictions, the agricultural sector, gyms, the industrial sector, and the long list goes on.

Such government packages are good, but they need to be coupled with parallel solutions.

This can be through easing of measures for at-risk sectors, or, for the sake of curbing the spread of the pandemic, coming up with creative solutions rather than shutting operations, leading to the closure of many businesses and the laying of thousands of people.

Although the new package provides more than 14,000 jobs, these jobs are based on temporary contracts, and, in all cases, it does not cancel out the thousands of jobs being lost simultaneously.

This means that the government has to address the procedures related to sectors that are partially or completely closed. Finding solutions to such sectors is still possible through reopening them with stricter conditions and bigger fines against violators.

Jordan, which receives international support for various considerations, also has to develop its diplomatic campaigns to enhance the national economy and secure additional support from the world.

Such assistance should be received without increasing the debt level, whether by deficit problems, sensitive changes in the economy or the impact of other issues, such as the refugee crisis, especially in light of the sensitive location of Jordan in the region and the importance of its stability at the political, social and security levels.