Jordanian King Abdullah II called on the government and the parliament to lead a national dialogue on draft income tax law that could avoid adding burdens on the citizens and combat tax evasion.
Chairing a National Policies Council meeting on Saturday, the King voiced confidence in Jordanians’ sense of responsibility and ability to overcome the current economic challenges.
He affirmed that it is unfair for citizens to be left alone to carry the burdens of financial reform, according to a Royal Court statement carried by Petra news agency.
He stressed that shortcomings in providing vital services such as education, healthcare and transport will not be tolerated.
King Abdullah II underlined the need for all state institutions to rationalize spending and balance taxes against the quality of services provided to citizens.
He stressed the importance of active participation of political parties, professional associations, and civil society institutions in the dialogue by providing realistic, workable recommendations that could serve national interests.
The King noted that self-reliance is not a slogan; it rather entails active government institutions capable of providing quality services, attracting foreign investment and delivering quality services to citizens around the Kingdom.
“I know how much Jordanians have endured; this is their true mettle. We are working day and night to overcome this difficult situation,” he said.
He attributed the challenges facing the Jordanian economy to difficult regional conditions, saying, “The problem does not lie in Jordan. Jordanians are ready to sacrifice for their country, and with their strong resolve, we will persevere and overcome these challenges, as we have surmounted others before.” King Abdullah said this requires working in unity to reach a consensus where Jordan, its economy, and future generations reap the benefits, adding that the difficult times facing Jordan and the choices available to the Kingdom now are not the same as five or 10 years ago.
The meeting took place after three days of protests in Amman and other parts of the Kingdom over the government decision on Thursday to raise the fuel and electricity prices and amend the income tax with a view to increasing the state revenues by USD 420 million annually.
At the behest of the King, the government backed down on the decision yesterday.
Jordan’s debts amount to USD 35 billion and represent 96 percent of the country’s GDP; the government’s economic reform program aims to bring down this percentage to 77 percent by 2021.
Source: Kuwait News Agency