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Government unveils ‘comprehensive programme’ to stimulate economy

PM says measures ‘manifest’ His Majesty’s Royal directives

By Bahaa Al Deen Al Nawas - Oct 27,2019 - Last updated at Oct 27,2019

Prime Minister Omar Razzaz addresses a panel discussion held to announce new government measures to stimulate the national economy in Amman on Sunday (Petra photo)

AMMAN — The government will adopt a new approach to deal with the 2020 budget in regards to partnerships with Parliament and utilising committees with high expertise in analysing financial challenges and opportunities, Prime Minister Omar Razzaz said on Sunday. 

During a panel discussion held to announce new government measures to stimulate the national economy and investment, Razzaz said that figures relating to the budget will be made available to the public to inform them of the sources of the government's revenues and where they are spent. 

"The comprehensive programme we announce today is a manifestation of His Majesty King Abdullah's Royal directives, speeches and the series of meetings and sessions he has headed," Razzaz said, noting that His Majesty’s main concern is the livelihood of citizens and how the programme will improve it, as well as its implementation time frame. 

The programme comprises four aspects: Stimulating the economy and investment, management and financial reform, improving citizens' livelihood and improving services comprehensively, according to Razzaz. 

In regards to improving livelihoods, the prime minister said: “As citizens have been feeling that prices and spending are increasing while income remains the same and unemployment among youth is high as well, this aspect requires its own root solutions." 

This requires reconsidering many regulations, especially the Civil Service Bureau by-law, Razzaz said, adding that the regulations that govern certain or all sectors need to be revised. 

The premier added: “Ten months ago, a team comprising the public sector, the civil service bureau, and partners from professional associations and experts questioned whether the regulations fit the 21st century and whether the progression of time is enough to determine if someone deserves a promotion.”

In regards to the fourth aspect of improving services, the prime minister said that the government will focus on a comprehensive shift rather than the current approach of improving certain areas or details, noting that “this is the hardest aspect because, regardless of the sector, it requires improvement of infrastructure, investment and rehabilitation of the quality of services, which we will work on”.

Regarding education, Razzaz said that kindergarten must be made compulsory, since, although some might find it unimportant, studies have shown that the fourth and fifth years of age are very important for a child’s learning. 

“As of the academic year 2020/2021, education for five-year-olds will be compulsory, and two years after that, it will become compulsory for four-year-olds, which is something that no Arab country has done before, and it will be a challenge that we need to face...,” the premier noted. 

Razzaz said that a special programme will be drafted for comprehensive health insurance, under the directives of His Majesty, which should be completed by 2023. 

As for the issue of insolvency, Razzaz said that previously, when provisional attachment was implemented, all the assets of a debtor were seized, even if their value was more than the value of the debt. Now, the premier said, changes will make provisional attachment apply to assets with a value equal to the exact amount of dues owed to a creditor. 

“At the beginning of 2020, all aspects will be completed, except for the aspect of improving services,” Razzaz said, noting that this panel discussion focuses primarily on the first aspect related to encouraging investments and stimulating the economy. 

The set of regulations to work on the first aspect focus on the real estate and housing sector, the production and export sectors and the labour and employment of Jordanians.

“The next panel discussion will be held soon and will discuss management and financial reforms,” Razzaz concluded.

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