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A new paradigm

Jun 20,2017 - Last updated at Jun 20,2017

People in Jordan are fed up with excuses that external factors are responsible for the current economic crisis, not denial.

They have been listening to such excuses for a few years now, while reflecting on the lack of promise in their economic fortunes.

Naturally, an economist does not accept the premise that only local disfunctionality is responsible for the current economic state of affairs.

Exogenous factors leave their mark on the economy of Jordan in periods of upswings and downswings alike.

However, the legitimate question that must be addressed is why did the economic policies not succeed in grappling with the economic downfall that had begun in 2009?

The current downwards economic cycle is now almost nine years old; it had preceded the impact of the Arab Spring by two years at least.

His Majesty’s displeasure with the inertia of the public administration, with the slow pace in catching up with his vision and to cash in on the opportunities he is creating is quite obvious.

Despite his cool manner and couth behaviour, he is rightly dissatisfied.

The current Jordanian economy is not well. To my surprise, I believe more than 95 per cent of Jordanians, regardless of their income or wealth, believe the economy is on the downswing.

The government cannot show a convincing statistical evidence to refute this fact.

Even if we assume that this 95 per cent is a mere perception, it should alarm officials.

The nemesis of government strategies are dismal expectations.

Practically thousands of medium- and small-size businesses that are hanging on a string. They have consumed their savings and liquidated some of their wealth to keep operating. The number of those that are folding out in on the rise.

Unemployment this summer and after some students graduate, will probably go up to more than 20 per cent.

What jobs are there for them?

Thanks, inter alia, to the IMF religiously observed programme, no sector is witnessing any improvement, with the exception of the energy field and the profits, not performance, of commercial banks.

We need to look more intently at the future of foreign flows, like investment and foreign aid. The prospect does not look bright.

People have very little faith that the government can cope with the situation. I fully agree.

We need a new paradigm that is people friendly. We need to invoke and rekindle hype.

We need to show people empathy, not occasional mercies.

Again, the IMF programme should be renegociated and postponed for two years.

There is no lard in the economy for the government to skim off.

  

The writer is a former Royal Court chief, deputy prime minister and member of Senate. He contributed this article to The Jordan Times.

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