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Worrying sign for economy

Aug 17,2019 - Last updated at Aug 17,2019

Latest data on national debt paints a grim picture about the state of the national economy. It is now reported that national debt for the first half of this year surged to JD29.518 billion.

Successive governments in Jordan have tried in vain to not only contain the bulging national debt, but also to reverse it, and the government of Prime Minister Omar Razzaz is no exception.

This picture about the health of the national economy is alarming, and impedes the growth of the economy by lowering expectations about investment growth and dampening business confidence.

The big question is why all successive governments try to lower the national debt but they all fail, with few exceptions. Regional constraints have a lot to do with the growing national debt, on top of the heavy economic and financial burden of upkeeping the 1.4 million Syrian refugees, who still make Jordan their country of residence since the start of the Syrian conflict.

Granted that the obstacles facing the effort to reduce the national debt appear insurmountable, yet more can be done on the national level to control it, even if at a modest periodic rate.

Government officials put the blame in part on the poor collection of taxes and the rampant and arbitrary customs exemptions for  a select group of people. Yet the problem may be much bigger and wider.

The truth of the matter is that the national economy is not growing fast enough, business confidence is low and unemployment is widespread, on top of the reduction of funding from external sources. Economic and financial aid and support to Jordan is dwindling or being unfulfilled, and this fact erodes the strength of the national economy to overcome the heavy obstacles it is facing.

Still, a business-oriented plan of action can do a lot to ameliorate the poor condition of the national economy. This much has yet to happen!

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