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Let us keep Jordan an oasis of peace and stability 

Jun 02,2018 - Last updated at Jun 02,2018

The trouble with the critics of the draft income tax law is the absence of specifics when they voice their complaints. This weakens their objections to the law. Instead of attacking the new legislation in whole, critics are invited to pin point the aspects of the law that disturbs them the most and with a good cause.

There is no sense in opposing a law in toto. Critics need to focus on the dimensions that are obviously not warranted. Surely, there are some provisions in the law that can be selectively supported as fair, just as there are some articles that are inherently unfair and must be deleted.

Doubling taxes on some sources of income is obviously wrong and cannot be defended. No country increases taxes dramatically as the new law seems to do. Increasing the scope of incomes would come within the purview of the law. There are grey areas of the law that the government should be careful about expanding all of a sudden.

Increasing taxes on banks and other corporations from 35 per cent to 40 per cent would end up being absorbed and paid by customers. That is the way corporations absorb cumbersome taxes being imposed on them.

There is also fear that such a dramatic increase on revenues of big businesses and corporations would dampen their business confidence and may force some to withdraw from the local market and seek foreign markets instead to do their business. Such a result is a slap in the face of the grand policy of encouraging business activities in the country.

Requiring families earning upward of JD16,000 to pay taxes under current economic conditions, where inflation is simply too high and basic living costs have become unaffordable, is also a sour point.

The mechanism of collecting taxes, whether from individuals or businesses, needs to be civil and not too tortuous. There are ways and ways of collecting taxes and collecting them by resorting to the police power of the government may also dampen business confidence in the country as a whole.

The rationale often cited by the government for levying higher and more painful taxes is attributed to the dictates of international monetary institutions, on the top of which are, of course, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Let it be known that these two institutions have been cited by international and reputable human rights institution as trespassing on basic human rights in pursuing their dictates to countries needing their support.

The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, of which I was a former chairperson and now a back bench member, has often cited these institutions for contempt of basic human rights and called upon  them to cease and desist from imposing monetary conditions on needy countries, which violate their treaty commitment to provide a decent and adequate standard of living for their people.

International human rights organs have also called upon states to refrain from obeying draconian measures forced upon them if they prevent their people from enjoying an adequate standard of life, including access to adequate food, water, housing, medical care, education and employment.

Taxes that hinder the enjoyment of these rights should be scaled down and not increased.

It seems that our authorities which negotiate with international monetary institutions are not privy to the country's treaty commitments under these international norms.

Last but not least, the sponsors of the new law should take into consideration at their peril the geopolitical climate in the region. True Jordan is an oasis of peace and stability, but let us keep it that way.

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Comments

IF MR SADI CAN NOT SEE WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE POLICIES IN QUESTION, HOW IT WAS ROLLED OUT AND THE TANGENCIAL CONFOUNDING VARIABLES ARROUND IT, HE SHOULD NOT BLAME THE VICTIMS. TO GOVERN IS NOT EASY, WE ALL KNOW THIS. IT NEEDS THE PEOPLE, THEIR PARTICIPATION, OPINIONS AND OF COURSE SACRIFICES. IF I MAY ASK, HOW CAN JORDAN BECOME
BECOME THE MOST EXPENSIVE COUNTRY IN THE ARAB WORLD AND YET THE AVERAGE SALARY IS CLOSE TO NOTHING?. THE
CITIZENS OF JORDAN DID NOT CAUSE THE SAID SITUATION OR ARE THEY ASKING FOR MUCH BUT FOOD, HEALTH AND THEIR
CHILDRENS EDUCATION. YOU CAN NOT BLAME THE CITIZENS NOW WHEN THEY WERE NEVER CALLED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE POLICY MAKING APPARATUS, LEFT OUT AND IGNORED. I NEVER HEARD OF ANY PUBLIC HRARINGS IN JORDAN IN PREPARATION TO DECIDE ANY PUBLIC POLICY. AS ALWAYS, IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN SHOOT FIRST AND ASK LATTER SO MY DEAR IT IS NOT FAIR TO ASK ANY JORDANIAN TO POINT OUT WHAT IS WRONG IN SOLVING A DIFFERENTIAL EQUATION THAT WAS FOMULATED WITH THE PRINCIPLE OF UNDETERMINED COEFFICIENT.

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