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Jordan: The need to review policies and procedures

Jan 06,2019 - Last updated at Jan 06,2019

Are we heading towards the right direction for a better future? This is the most frequent question asked by most Jordanians today. Unfortunately, socioeconomic indicators do not leave much room for optimism. The public debt and budget deficit are increasing rapidly, accompanied by stories about how public money is being spent and who is responsible. As we are reaching the 100 year anniversary of the foundation of Jordan in its current political entity, revision on all levels seems to be a must.

It is perhaps not surprising, amidst the general levelling of discontent in Jordan, to arrive to the spark of protests. As a matter of fact, this is not new for Jordan, and has been part of the Jordanian political culture since at least 1989. The failure in finding a real solution to many pending issues, such as reform, corruption, etc., was due to the limited vision that denied and refused to face the problem from the beginning. Actually, some considered the popular protests a temporary, superficial conflict that can be resolved with routine measures. However, this transformed the conflict into a latent growing one, and at the same time turned many conceptions in the minds of people to appear like solid convictions.

As an observer, I believe that this current government should do more to counter the challenges facing Jordan. This would open the door for many questions, especially, if the continuous reshuffle of government is based on strategic visions or national interests. It is important for the Jordanian state to accentuate the necessity of focusing on core issues, such as the redistribution of power amongst society and the state, where citizens feel involved in the decision-making process, particularly in matters directly impacting their lives, including, but not limited to: prices adjustments, taxation, salary fixing, inflation, political banking, strategic projects and election laws.

It is imperative for the people to be engaged in the processes rather than hearing rumours or reading about the decisions afterwards in the media. There is an urgent need to have a clear road map with concrete steps in order to achieve a real tangible change in Jordan. The government must boost investments in agriculture and industry partnerships to ensure jobs and economic security in the region.

Jordan’s economic woes are not helping. Large-scale industrial and economic reform is required in order to engage people in a new economy that gives them hope and the feeling of control over their lives. With the rebuilding of Syria and Iraq, Jordan needs to position itself with large-scale agricultural, energy and logistics projects in order to feed, power and supply the region in moving into the future. It is important to remember that change can never be achieved by the same old tools. Being innovative is the first step in the long process of change, therefore, I find it very interesting to conclude by quoting Virginia Woolf: “We can best help you to prevent war not by repeating your words and following your methods but by finding new words and creating new methods.” 

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