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Coalition formed to readjust tax, economic policies

By Ana V. Ibáñez Prieto - Jun 08,2018 - Last updated at Jun 08,2018

AMMAN — A total of 23 civil society organisations (CSOs) across the Kingdom have formed a national coalition aimed at adjusting tax and economic policies through the development of policy papers and the participation in future consultations, the organisations announced in a joint statement on Wednesday. 

The decision to form the coalition came after a meeting held by the Jordanian Women’s Union (JWU), where representatives of the 23 CSOs gathered to “stand up for their legitimate rights” and respond to governmental decisions that are “clearly not based on a plan to save the country from the accumulation of debt and the issues affecting the working class”, the statement read.  

The meeting built up on a position paper previously issued by the Phenix Centre for Economic and Informatics Studies, which called for the instauration of the principles of tax justice and the amendment of the powers of the Council of Ministers in determining the goods subject to the general tax on sales and the special tax.

Tamkeen Foundation, the Arab Media Centre, Nour Al Khair Association for Development, the Arab Women Association and the Federation of Independent Trade Unions are some of the CSOs forming the coalition, along with JWU and the Phenix Centre. 

Asked about the steps to be taken by the coalition in the near future, director of the Phenix Centre Ahmad Awad told The Jordan Times that the organisations are hoping to “find opportunities for dialogue and consultation on several socio-economic policies and tax laws”, stressing that “our responsibilities as CSOs are to contribute effectively to such dialogues and to present alternative policies that are compatible with our vision of achieving tax justice”.

In its statement, the newly formed coalition called on the government to “withdraw the new Income Tax Law immediately and resort to dialogue with all concerned parties”, warning that the new law “exacerbates social inequality and the poverty crisis”.

The statement called for “the elimination of the existing gap between the continuous rise in taxes and the quality and quantity of free services available for the citizens”.

The coalition also demanded “the extinction of corruption, the opening of the files and the adoption of the principle of transparency when identifying the sources of funds used by the government”, stressing the importance of reviewing economic policies “to protect the unprivileged population”. 

“The current imbalances have been deepened in the past years as a result of the crises in Syria and Iraq, which led to the closure of the borders between Jordan and its two main economic partners,” the statement continued, adding “the great waves of refugees in Jordan in the last six years have also contributed to an increase in the pressures on the national economy, affecting basic services such as education, health, labour or transport.”

In this regard, the organisations proposed a series of solutions to the status of the economy in the Kingdom “without compromising the citizen’s safety and welfare,” such as developing the agricultural sector in order to reduce the unemployment rates or the provision of loans for production and investment projects. 

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