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Easier said than done

Jul 31,2018 - Last updated at Jul 31,2018

Prime Minister Omar Razzaz has signalled recently that he wants to see the local labour force replace migrant workers as one of his key economic policy guidelines for the country.

Razzaz wants this objective done by retraining local labour into local work needs and integrating them more fully into areas of employment that have become heavily dependent on foreign workers. The new government is neither the first nor will be the last to tout this goal, only to face realities on the ground and gradually abandon this sensible objective. 

Obviously, there is nothing better and wiser than having work opportunities in the country go to Jordanians, as this would reduce unemployment, a major source of poverty in the country, and deserves serious consideration, and adoption under the right conditions. Besides, such a policy, when fully applied, would cut down on the drain on the country's foreign currency reserves, as foreign workers tend to transfer their income to their homeland.

Yet, the theory, in this regard, and what appears as the right thing to do, clashes with realities on the ground. It is easier said than done to have nationals working in the fields of the Jordan Valley or in the construction sector, but when tested on the ground, this otherwise good policy is soon undermined by the stark reality that local workers are reluctant to take the place of, for example, Egyptian workers, in many sectors of the economy.

Against this backdrop, the government would be well advised to introduce this wise policy gradually, and one step at a time, in order to avoid paralysis in many sectors of the national economy. Jordanian construction companies and farmers have resorted to foreign workers out of necessity, and not because they prefer foreigners over nationals.

The government needs to take on board the work culture in the country that discourages citizens from accepting certain menial employment opportunities. It is, therefore, not a problem of training local workers into work being occupied by foreigners, but rather the prevalent cultural prejudice against accepting certain types of work.

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Comments

i DO AGREE WITH THE PRIME MINISTER 100%. YES, THERE ARE VERY GOOD REASONS BEHIND THIS POLICY FROM THE DRAIN OF THECOUNTRY'S FOREIGN RESERVE, PUBLIC HEALTH PREVENTIONS, EDUCATION THE CHILDREN FROM THE START ABOUT THE VALUE
OF WORK. AT ONE POINT, IT BECAME VERY CLEAR THAT THE NUMBER OF MAID ONE KEEPS, THE MORE RESPECT HE OR SHE GETS.
THIS IS A SOCIAL NORM THAT IS UNSUSTAINABLE. EVEN IN THE WEST, NO ONE HAVE MORE SLAVE LABOURERS THAN IN JORDAN.
EVERY ONE CAN PREPARE THEIR FOOD, WASH THEIR BELONGINS, BE ACTIVELY ENGAGED IN CHILD CARE. THE WHOLE PROCESS IS
A BIG JOKE AND IF WAS THE PRIME MINISTER, IT WILL COST NO LESS THAN JD5000 TO IMPORT A MADE PLUS 2500 YEARLY RENEWAL TAXES PER ONE. IS THERE ANY BENNEFITS OF THIS TO ANY JORDANIAN OTHER THAN IMMOBILITY AND HEALTH ISSUES.
IF THE PRIME MINISTER CAN GET THIS THROUGH, THOSE WHO ARE VERY MUCH IN NEED CAN HIRE SOME ONE LOCALLY FROM HIS OR HER TOWN AND THE AGENCIES THAT IMPORTS DOMESTIC HELPERS CAN TEAM UP WITH THE GOVERNMENT FOR TRAINING AND PLACEMENTS FOR WORK. IT IS A WIN-WIN POLICY. THE QUEEN AND DUKE OF ENGLAND DONT EVEN GO AS FAR AS JORDANIANS DO. I WORK WITH DOCTORS IN USA WITH LITTLE CHILDREN BUT ALL OF THEM PUT IN AT LEAST 10 HOURS A DAY AND STILL GO HOME TO MANAGE THEIR FAMILIES.

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