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Oiling the wheels of the economy

Dec 06,2019 - Last updated at Dec 06,2019

Prime Minister Omar Razzaz on Thursday announced the third of four executive packages designed to improve the national economy, which aims at increasing the salaries of public sector employees, retirees and military personnel. 

While unveiling the package, the premier said that the third batch of incentives "has the largest direct impact", as it benefits 700,000 Jordanians, employees and retirees. The increase in the salaries is the first since 2010, according to Razzaz, who said that Thursday’s package is one of the most important elements of the overall programme.

Increasing the salaries is part of continued efforts by the government upon the directives of His Majesty King Abdullah to improve the living conditions of Jordanians. The pay raise comes at the right time as citizens are facing economic hardships.

The increase to the salaries should be coupled with improved performance by public sector agencies. The pay raise should also be considered as an incentive to improve the quality of services, end red tape and make it easier for citizens, residents and investors alike to receive better services.

The government said that increasing salaries will help it generate more revenues, expecting that there will be increased spending. At the same time, improving public sector productivity is also key to increasing economic growth.

In fact, improving public sector productivity has benefits beyond providing better services, as having a large public sector that is growing without efficient productivity and desired gains will make the sector a drag on overall economic growth. Increasing spending should be coupled with increased productivity, accountability and transparency, which are key to a more efficient public sector.

In parallel, there is a need for a set of indicators to measure public sector performance, especially since Razzaz said that any allowances and raises will be tied to merit and performance.

Though it is not an easy process to track every single element in the public sector to measure performance, it is, however, possible to assess citizens’ satisfaction with regard to services in fields of health, education and municipalities, to mention a few.

Jordan is proceeding with its reform process seeking to boost its economy and self-reliance, attract more investments to create jobs and enhance the living conditions of citizens, and improving the productivity of the public sector is a key factor in achieving these objectives.

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