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Avoiding self-delusion

Aug 27,2018 - Last updated at Aug 27,2018

Not a while ago, Prime Minister Omar Razzaz set sixteen goals for his government to achieve in the first hundred days. Observers were quick to point out that Razzaz was different form his predecessors. For the first time in a while, we have a prime minister who established deliverable objectives.

A few days ago, the government announced that it has achieved some 62 per cent of the sixteen goals! I think that the government should have waited until the end of the first hundred days before providing the public with self-appraisal of its work. I do not know how many times should we remind governments that the single, most important objective is restoring the trust between the government and the public. I personally raised this particular point before His Majesty King Abdullah two weeks ago. While the King agreed with this opinion and most of his letters of designation called upon governments to restore this lost trust, successive governments have actually helped widen this trust gap.

Razzaz came in a different context. The public is willing to give him the time needed provided that he leads the government properly. No amount of public relations campaigns can distract the public from the real issues. With all frankness, the sixteen goals set by the government are of no real value. Even a success in achieving them all would not address the real concerns of Jordanians.

The government needs to realise that Jordanians will not rest assured until they see an improvement in three main real problems: unemployment, poverty and inflation. Opinion polls show clearly that the priorities of Jordanians revolve around these three main challenges. Any serious prime minister must think that any failure to address these three challenges could be a trigger for instability. Thus far, the security apparatuses have succeeded in propping up the stability in the country. And yet, the government cannot always rely on the security apparatuses to hold the country together.

I am one of those who interact with people from outside Amman. An average Jordanian living outside Amman would not take the Tweets of the prime minister and his ministers as substitute for sound policies. If those people find it difficult to put food on the table, I wonder how Twitter can change the image of the government. Perhaps, it is time to advise the government of the need to get close to people’s needs. Short of doing that, the government runs the risk of further decreasing the public’s trust.

Assuming that Jordanians could be manipulated via Twitter may go down as the single unwise action taken by the government. At the end of the day, the government can always boast its self-appraisal, however, this is delusional. Many Jordanians link the timing of the announcement of the government’s self-assessment to its intention to enact a new income tax law. In other words, the government wants to look good before it presents its new income tax bill. 

For all of that, the prime minister needs to be cautious and cease to take Jordanians for granted.

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Comments

Very good points about people living outside Amman, I would add another point beside(unemployment, poverty and inflation) safety and security, where breaking in houses, stealing, damaging (trees,crops,properties). we are in state of lawless.

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