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Lower House continues deliberations over government policy statement

MPs raise issues regarding taxes, agriculture sector, corruption

By JT - Jul 16,2018 - Last updated at Jul 16,2018

Members of Parliament take part in the deliberation session on Monday (Photo by Osama Aqarbeh)

AMMAN — The Lower House on Monday continued for the second day its deliberations over the government's policy statement, which the government presented last week.

At the beginning of the session, the House Speaker Atef Tarawneh expressed the Chamber's rejection of the criticism made by a minister following a speech by MP Tareq Khouri on Sunday, noting that such behaviour contradicts the Constitution that guarantees freedom of speech.

MP Muntaha Boul asked for raising salaries and revisiting provisions of the Civil Status Bureau By-law related to employment, as well as cracking down on corruption and merging independent institutions with their respective ministries to put an end to what she described as "money waste", the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

The deputy added that the government's policy statement lacked a well-defined economic programme to facilitate investment.

Deputy Nabil Ghishan highlighted the importance of freezing taxes and improving people's living conditions through halting the "failed policy" of increasing levies.

He called for further developing ties with Iraq and reconsidering procedures that contributed to the drop in medical tourism.

MP Misleh Tarawneh questioned the government's role in investing in the shale oil in Karak, the Zarqa-Amman train project, and real development in Maan and Tafileh.

MP Habes Shabib noted that the statement lacked any clear programme to address the damages that befell several sectors after "short-term and failed" policies of previous governments, referring to the losses of the agricultural sector after the government stopped supporting it.

MP Muhammad Falahat called for developing the quality of local industries and protecting them against competitive industries, and queried the government's reason for allowing telecommunications companies to set their own prices.

Deputy Barakat Abbadi called for practical solutions to poverty, unemployment, increasing taxes and prices of fuel derivatives. 

MP Aziz Obeidi warned the government against imposing new taxes that greatly affect citizens and their living conditions.

MP Nabil Shishani criticised the reappointment of ministers from the previous Cabinet, calling on Prime Minister Omar Razzaz to reinstate employees who uncovered corruption cases worth millions of dinars.

For MP Musa Hantash, the government is required to be "creative", finding solutions to economic woes not only through borrowing and debts. 

He also stressed the importance of upgrading education and health services, calling on the government to reconsider the “gas agreement with the Zionist entity” and develop a strategy for the agricultural sector and creating real investment opportunities.

MP Nawaf Zyoud stressed on the importance of revisiting the tax system to ensure that the poor and middle classes are not affected and that burdens are distributed fairly.

MP Ibrahim Bani Hani said that the education, transportation and health services citizens receive are "still below the value of the taxes they pay". 

He also called for activating the role of developmental zones, facilitating their procedures, cancelling the building system, and reforming the health sector, as well as supporting vocational education according to market needs.

Deputy Saleh Armouti criticised the government's make-up which, he said, "does not fit the exceptional circumstances that the country is going through".

MP Ramadan Hunaiti stressed the importance of building a genuine partnership with the public and private sectors.

MP Okla Alzboun said that "consecutive governments' resort to citizens' pockets as the only means to solve economic problems should stop", calling on Razzaz'z government to come up with creative solutions to poverty and unemployment.  

The House is scheduled to continue its deliberations over the government's policy statement on Tuesday and Wednesday with the vote of confidence expected to be conducted on Thursday. 

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