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Lower House to hold oversight session on tax hike

By Raed Omari - Jan 23,2018 - Last updated at Jan 23,2018

The Lower House on Tuesday decided to hold an oversight session to discuss the government’s recent decision to increase tax on commodities, services and medicines (Photo by Osama Aqarbeh)

AMMAN — The Lower House on Tuesday decided to hold an oversight session to discuss the government’s recent decision to increase tax on commodities, services and medicines.

A majority of MPs voted in favour of a proposal by House Speaker Atef Tarawneh to hold a special session to discuss the price hike, especially medicines.

Tuesday’s session saw several lawmakers taking the podium to criticise the recent government decision to increase the tax on commodities and medicines, which came into effect on Sunday.

In a memorandum they signed on Monday, around 80 MPs demanded that the government cancel the tax increase on medicines by 10 per cent, describing the recent hikes as adding more burden to the already troubled middle- and low-income segments.

Signatories said that the government has violated the recommendation of the Chamber’s Financial Committee to avoid adding burdens to the health sector.

The lawmakers said that the House’s endorsement of the 2018 state budget law was conditional to the government’s abidance by the Financial Committee’s recommendations, “mainly including keeping medicines’ prices untouched”.

They added that the government’s decision to levy a new tax on medicines “contradicts with the Royal directives to ensure the wellbeing of the poor and middle classes”.

On January 2, the House endorsed the 2018 draft state budget and budgets of independent government units draft law in a one-day session that witnessed a boycott of around 30 MPs.

House’s deliberations of the budget laws and governments’ policy statements usually last for three to four days.

The House’s “quick” endorsement of the 2018 state budget in one day was slammed by Jordanians on social media networks, who said that they expect 2018 to be a tough year with the endorsed decisions that included ending bread subsidies.

 

On Twitter and Facebook, users said that voting on the state budget and endorsing it in a single day was “unacceptable”.

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