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Mandatory military service sees comeback as gov’t sets priorities

Plans include health insurance coverage for 80% of Jordanians, creation of 30,000 jobs

By JT - Nov 19,2018 - Last updated at Nov 19,2018

AMMAN — Prime Minister Omar Razzaz on Monday announced the government's priorities for 2019-2020, which included a plan to create 30,000 jobs and saw a comeback of the mandatory military service.

Razzaz said that the government allocated the needed capital to achieve the set priorities, and included them in the 2019 budget, in addition to setting a timetable and measurable performance indicators, noting that "implementation is more important than promise", the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

The premier stressed that the priorities focus on the projects and programmes that would have a direct impact on citizens' lives, adding that "the priorities target every Jordanian man and woman; be it the underprivileged to protect and maintain their dignity, middle-class citizens to provide them with qualitative services, or the private sector to motivate its investment and productivity".

To tackle unemployment, Razzaz said, 30,000 job opportunities will be created for Jordanians, in addition to an estimated 35,000 to 40,000 jobs projected to be created annually by the country's economy.

The government will also launch “Country Service” programme, an updated version of the suspended mandatory military service for youth known as “Banner Service”, which will include vocational and military training for 20,000 young Jordanian men and women, aiming to instill in Jordanian youth “values of discipline, seriousness and job skills”.

Also among the priorities is covering 80 per cent of Jordanians by health insurance, while ensuring the quality of healthcare services by employing “mystery shoppers”.

Regarding education, the government will work on increasing the rate for enrollment in kindergartens to reach 70 per cent, considering it “the most important stage in a child’s life”, in addition to establishing 120 new schools, Razzaz announced.

Priorities concerning the economy include “effective measures” to increase foreign investment by 10 per cent and local exports by 5 per cent annually, in addition to establishing a holding company in which all Jordanians, residents and expatriates, can acquire shares.

To support entrepreneurship, the government launched the “Jordan Entrepreneurship Fund” to support 825 projects with a budget of JD70 million, which should contribute to the creation of thousands of jobs, he added.

On the social protection front, the premier underscored that 55,000 underprivileged families will be supported by the National Aid Fund. 

Razzaz also announced that by the end of 2020, 35 per cent of electricity will be generated from Jordanian shale and renewable energy sources, enhancing the Kingdom’s energy security. 

In the transport sector, the government plans to link all public transportations with an electronic tracking system according to a scheduled timetable, to increase the public-transport commuters, population, not to mention the completion of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project by the end of 2020.

Concerning public assets, the government has amended a number of key laws and regulations to ensure the protection of public money, Razzaz said.

“We are committed to implement [the priorities] over the following two years. It is the first step towards the national renaissance that aims to utilise Jordanians’ capacities and fulfil their future ambitions,” Razzaz said.

The prime minister reiterated that His Majesty King Abdullah identified the priorities in his Speech from the Throne to be tri-pillared on the state of law, the Kingdom’s productivity and solidarity.

The prime minister pledged that there will be a following up and assessment for the implementation of the priorities, tied with measurable indicators, “to enable the Jordanians to oversee the government and hold it accountable”.

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