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Dialogue goes both ways

Sep 24,2018 - Last updated at Sep 24,2018

President of the Jordanian Engineers Association (JEA) Ahmad Zu'bi has announced that the JEA categorically rejects the new draft tax law and the reason submitted for this verdict is because "the law is not in harmony with the state of dialogue between the association and the government”.

With all due respect, one would have expected a more coherent explanation for this outright rejection of the new legislation that the members of the association and the public at large can relate to and understand. Summary rejection of the draft law is not the way to go about demanding a more profound dialogue between the government and the public on any piece of legislation.

Of all the professional associations in the country, the JEA was the least expected to make an arbitrary decision on the tax law. The syndicate was expected to set an example for other professional associations in the country on how and why it decided to reject the tax law.

Dialogue, by definition, goes both ways. While the government promised to enter into a genuine dialogue with all sectors of society about the new taxation law, the other side can be also expected to enter into a real dialogue with the government about the merits and demerits of the new law by going into specifics about where the law has gone wrong.

Both sides to this dialogue phenomenon stand to profit when and if it is conducted on solid grounds. The JEA, or any other association for that matter, can indeed find something incomplete or wrong about the controversial law, but in order to articulate respective positions and express them in a more coherent way by pointing out the pros and cons of the draft law, the parties need to be thorough, well versed in the subject matter and above all fair-minded. These are the elements of a real dialogue from which all stakeholders can merge more enlightened in order to take a final position.

It is never too late in the hour for the JEA to explain its points of view about the daft law. The association would be well advised to seek a dialogue with the authorities with a view to finding common denominators that can bring the two sides closer to one another. That would be the right way to hold a real dialogue.

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