September 25 2022 8:27 AM E-paper Subscribe Sign in My Account Sign out

Why is Jordan run this way?

Maher abu tair
Maher Abu Tair (Photo: Jordan News)
We need to be honest here. Jordan, in an unusual way, since the beginning of 2021, has been experiencing very sensitive times at all levels. We need to figure out what is happening with the way our daily affairs are managed, because based on what we are witnessing, the administration is feeble, relying only on reactions, wherever one is needed.اضافة اعلان

This really is a strange year. From its onset, we have been witnessing a new story every two days. No sane person can consider that the daily management of developments is adequate. It adopts an approach based on placing crises on the back burner, a practice that generates more trouble later. This is especially true when a group within the establishment argues that crises are normal events that happen everywhere in the world, in a bid to downplay the seriousness of the issue. They argue that, at the end of the day, these problems cannot be prevented but must be solved. They forget that our local experience is shared by few other countries in the world. They also forget that other countries do not only seek to address symptoms, but rather tackle the root causes of the challenges they face.

Take political reform, for example. It is characterized with slow progress and engagement in dialogues at different levels, involving numerous issues at once We cannot afford this sluggishness, especially since we have hundreds of documents addressing reform, including the National Charter, the National Agenda, and the National Dialogue Committee, as well as hundreds of hours spent debating the issue by lawmakers and inside the government, which selects the figures to take part from political circles and others. This means that we are just buying time. If there was any political will to carry out reform, we could have benefited from this rich heritage, rather than throw a brainstorming session in which we are invited to work out laws related to elections, political parties, and other political reform-related files.

Apart from political reform, the issue of public services is worrying. The power outage, for example, albeit a possible occurrence in any country, opens the door for questions about the chance of similar emergencies in the future. What if the Israeli gas supply (stolen from the Palestinians) stops and we face disruptions in the supply of water and electricity or telecom services? We will see gas stations and ATMs totally dysfunctional and hospitals at risk, especially if the outage exceeds the usual few hours. This raises a question to the government — any incumbent government — regarding contingency plans for all utilities. Just few months ago, we experienced a major crisis in the form of an oxygen outage at Salt Hospital. Furthermore, we have a water shortage at hand, which will deepen in the summer. This will adversely affect the quality in Jordan.

Is it possible that infrastructure and vital utilities will be reviewed in a way that ensures Jordan will not be susceptible to great dangers under certain emerging circumstances?

In addition, there is the economic file, including the growing public debt. It is apparent that the figures listed in the 2021 state budget are different from reality, which is expected, given the difficult economy. This will naturally lead to an increasing deficit and we will close this year financial statements with alarming figures. Unemployment, price hikes, and poverty are seeing major changes. No one has intervened to solve these problems by addressing their root causes. We all know that this has led to the social crisis we are witnessing now; and it is snowballing, giving us the impression that the future does not look good.

Another example is foreign policy. Jordan’s role has been trimmed down, as our stands on regional and international affairs have been on the decline. It is as if we are required to be there, but remain invisible. However, the government has been adopting a neutral stance, showing self-restraint and attempting to bring about balance to the situation. Such policies are understandable, but the inevitable result is that Jordan is pushed out as a regional influence and the country is not taken into the calculations made by regional and world powers. If the official position is justifiable for its own reasons, it remains unquestionable that compromising on our regional influence will weaken the county at more than one level.

It is about time Jordan was run differently. Domestic crises and regional turbulence literally require us to adopt a different kind of management. The message is that if we want to survive, it is now or never.

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