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Cabinet endorses bill to restructure public agencies

By JT - Jan 16,2013 - Last updated at Jan 16,2013

AMMAN — The Cabinet on Wednesday endorsed a draft law on restructuring public institutions and departments in a bid to upgrade public performance and control public expenditures.

In a statement, Minister of Public Sector Development Khleef Al Khawaldeh said the draft law, which will be forwarded to the incoming Lower House and given urgent status for endorsement, will cancel several public departments and institutions and merge some to downsize the government body.

Under the proposed law, some entities that are currently affiliated with the premier will become directly supervised by the concerned ministers in order to reduce the burdens borne by the prime minister, Khawaldeh pointed out.

The draft law, endorsed in implementation of the public sector restructuring programme, will ensure that government entities and policy makers become more focused on their main tasks, the minister said in a statement carried by the Jordan News Agency, Petra.

In order to offset the deficit, economists have been suggesting over the past two years that independent organisations should be downsized and the public sector would need to shrink.

Khawaldeh said the Cabinet discussed the proposed law in November 2012 and it was carried on the website of the Legislation and Opinion Bureau in order for the government to receive related remarks or suggestions.

The feedback was studied and taken into account in drafting the law that was endorsed on Wednesday, he pointed out.

The law outlines the 17 pieces of legislation that will be affected by the restructuring process.

The decision is part of the government’s austerity measures and is an attempt to eliminate duplicity and enhance government performance.

The move was first announced by Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour last year as part of a plan to slash public expenditure, especially as there are 70 independent commissions and institutions with a total budget of JD2 billion. The austerity measures included an “unpopular” decision to lift fuel subsidies, which would save the budget around JD500 million a year.

The draft, for example, cancels the Executive Privatisation Commission, transferring its tasks to the Ministry of Finance.

On the other hand, the mergers involve the Higher Youth Council and the Youth Leadership Centre with the Ministry of Culture to become the Ministry of Youth and Culture, and the Jordan Investment Board with the Development Zones Commission to form the Investment Commission.

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