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Government mulling minimum wage raise — spokesperson

‘More time needed to examine move as it could cost millions of dinars’

By Khetam Malkawi - Dec 08,2016 - Last updated at Dec 08,2016

Minister of State for Media Affairs and Government Spokesperson Mohammad Momani holds a press conference at the Prime Ministry on Thursday (Petra photo)

AMMAN — The government is studying the possibility of increasing the minimum wage, which currently stands at JD190, a senior official said on Thursday.

Speaking at a press conference at the Prime Ministry, Minister of State for Media Affairs and Government Spokesperson Mohammad Momani said the government is studying the issue and a decision is expected soon.

However, Momani said he cannot set a specific date for it.

He added that the government has to review the issue thoroughly as there are many employees at public agencies who receive the minimum wage. Any increase, he explained, will cost the government millions of dinars, and this needs to be taken into consideration.

The minister also said that the Cabinet has endorsed the amended Buildings and Planning Regulation for Towns and Villages to ensure that all buildings have parking spots. The regulations, he noted, will be also applicable to old buildings, unless there are technical issues that might affect the building’s safety.

In case of violations, the building will be demolished and the owners will have to pay a fine, even after removing it, Momani said, adding that owners of old buildings in violation of the new regulations have been given May 2017 as the deadline to rectify their situation.

The spokesperson added that the Cabinet on Wednesday endorsed the by-laws that regulate exporting and handling fireworks.

The regulations, he explained, came following the incident that took place at the Jordan Customs Department (JCD) yard last year.

Last October, fire erupted at the JCD yard after two firework containers exploded and claimed the lives of seven people.

As for distributing the Royal makruma (benefaction) of JD20 to public school students, Momani said some families had already received the gift and those who have not can collect it through the Cairo Amman Bank.

The Royal makruma was announced last September through which every public and military school student is entitled to receive JD20 as a cash gift, with a maximum of JD100 to be distributed to each family.

Meanwhile, Momani stressed that Prime Minister Hani Mulki had instructed all ministries and government entities mentioned in the Audit Bureau 2015 report to follow up on the violations recorded by the oversight agency.

In response to news reports that the government would impose a new tax on travellers for tourism abroad, Momani said this tax would be levied on tour operators, noting that it had already been imposed but not all travel agencies have been complying with it. 

The government will exempt defaulters from fines if they pay their overdue financial obligations under the tax.

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