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MPs, gov’t to discuss alternatives to JD450m in taxes

By Khetam Malkawi - Jan 22,2017 - Last updated at Jan 22,2017

AMMAN — The Lower House Finance Committee is scheduled to meet with government officials on Wednesday to discuss alternative proposals by lawmakers, to increase Treasury revenues under Article 116 of the draft state budget law.

The Lower House on Thursday endorsed the draft law for the 2017 state budget, including Article 116, which stipulates increasing state revenues by JD450 million in additional taxes.

Although deputies voted on that clause, they proposed other alternatives to the government, according to Deputy Ahmad Safadi, chair of the House Finance Committee.

“Endorsing that article does not mean that we approved the measures under it,” Safadi told The Jordan Times on Sunday, adding that the committee’s members and government officials will meet on Wednesday to that end.

Suggestions put forward by deputies include levying a JD1 monthly fee for each mobile phone line, as well as making better use of rented and owned government buildings and dispensing with unused facilities.

Deputies also suggested unifying work permit fees for foreign workers and requiring owners of cars with foreign licence plates to pay customs duties and sales tax after a certain period of time in the Kingdom.

In remarks to Jordan Television after the Chamber endorsed the bills, Lower House Speaker Atef Tarawneh said lawmakers worked to ensure that basic commodities are “left untouched”, adding that consumers will not be affected by price hikes.

Instead of approving JD450 million in additional taxes, Tarawneh said, lawmakers suggested alternatives to protect people with middle and lower incomes.

 

The bills will now be referred to the Senate for discussion and endorsement, after which they will be ratified by His Majesty King Abdullah and published in the Official Gazette.

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