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Jordan’s myriad challenges

Jun 24,2019 - Last updated at Jun 24,2019

Prime Minister Omar Razzaz opened up his heart during an interview with Jordan Television's “60 Minutes” programme last Friday by reflecting in public on his first year in office by disclosing the positive and the unrealised dreams and aspirations of his government.

The very idea of taking time to depict the achievements and shortcomings of the government is certainly great and promising. Candid discourse with the people through television networks at prime time is most refreshing and encouraging.

Prime Minister Razzaz is by nature an open book and is the type that cherishes opening up to the public to share with them his experiences and hardships during the first year of his term in office. Razzaz said many things, but what stood out was his conviction that unemployment remains the country's "biggest concern". In his view, the high unemployment crisis dwarfs other problems facing the country.

The national economy, the prime minister said, generates only 30,000 to 35,000 jobs annually, which he said is not near enough to what is needed to confront the unemployment crisis that stands at 300,000 unemployed people! The prime minister expressed hope that an economic recovery would boost the employment capacity of the country from the current 30,000 jobs to 60,000.

Of course we all pray for this to happen, and soon, but judging by recent economic data this optimistic projection may not materialise soon enough. With the same breath though, Razzaz described the energy problem in the country also as the "biggest concern" facing the Kingdom.

This means that in the mind of the prime minister there are two, not one, “biggest” concerns; one regarding the crisis of high unemployment and the other is the high energy price tag.

To be sure, the country has several concerns or challenges besides the two domestic concerns that occupy the mind of Razzaz. Many socioeconomic challenges facing citizens, including housing, food, water and health issues, are also major problems. This is not to mention the myriad external threats facing the country.

We can only wish him a more successful second year in office because his success is the country's success.

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