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Lower House budget deliberations continue

By Khaled Neimat - Jan 14,2014 - Last updated at Jan 14,2014

AMMAN — The Lower House on Tuesday continued deliberations over the draft 2014 state budget amid increasing criticism of the government’s performance in the economic sector.

During two sessions on Tuesday, MPs expressed their dissatisfaction with the bill, linking their support for the legislation with the government’s positive response to their demands and suggestions.

MP Abdul Hadi Majali (National Current Party list), head of the National Labour Front Bloc (20 MPs), expressed his bloc’s worries over what he described as “the unplanned” government approach in handling the economic situation in the country.

He criticised the government for not having a “clear vision” in its efforts to overcome the difficulties facing the Kingdom and the lack of “harmony” among its economic team.

Majali, a former House speaker, warned that the ongoing “silence” on the streets does not mean satisfaction, warning that citizens are suffering and that the government must look into their needs, particularly those residing in remote areas.

Deputy Samir Oweis (Irbid, 1st District), who spoke for the Democratic Gathering Bloc (15 MPs), presented the group’s vision for the national economy, highlighting the main areas to be considered by the government as means to overcome ongoing difficulties.

The bloc focused on the need to find better measures to combat tax evasion, particularly among professionals.

Meanwhile, some deputies who took the podium announced their support for the draft budget at the end of their speeches.

The second largest bloc in Parliament, Watan (Homeland), called for taking the impact of the huge refugee influx into consideration as a major factor when drafting the state budget.

In a speech delivered by Mahmoud Mheidat (Irbid, 9th District), the bloc warned of the continued fluctuation in oil prices and their impact on the national economy.

The Lower House started its deliberations over the bill on Monday, after receiving the recommendations of its Finance Committee.

The government submitted the draft budget to the Lower House in November 2013, with a 12.8 per cent expansion in spending and a deficit of around JD1.1 billion.

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