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Towards a ‘mission’ government

Aug 03,2022 - Last updated at Aug 03,2022

The country is currently going through various deep challenges that require urgent, not deferred, solutions. The passage of time is not in our interest. With each passing day, the challenges grow, branch out and take root, making the situation complicated and difficult to treat.

Therefore, there is an urgent need to carry out economic, financial, and administrative reforms today before tomorrow. There is no luxury in time and no room for maneuver, and the circumstance does not tolerate any attempt to delay or postpone.

Let's go immediately to implementation, as the matter can no longer bear the preoccupation with developing more long-term strategies and the implementation plans that emerge from them, most of which are left unimplemented.

Therefore, I believe that the reality of the situation requires the presence of a government with a specific mission that is working on implementing its mission components and procedures as quickly as possible. The more time passes, the more difficult and complex matters become. Whether the current government or a new government needs a high-level and careful selection of members of the government who have a great experience in reform, ability to implement, savvy and wisdom in dealing with circumstances and details.

This orientation includes heading to the concept of a “mission” government, meaning that it be given the task of immediate and sustainable comprehensive reform and immediately begin to analyse the most prominent national macro indicators, their actual and target levels for several years to come, and then expedite the decision-making and executive measures to address and correct the reality of the situation at the level of all pillars simultaneously within an intensive program and submitting semi-annual substantive follow-up reports to His Majesty the King and publishing them for the information of all at the same time.

Here the judgment on the efficiency and effectiveness of governments is objective, away from impressions, formalities and compliments.

In such circumstances, there is no room for wasting time in preparing strategies and plans that are lined up on the shelves or placed in the drawers, as if the matter ends with just preparing them. And thus we go around in vicious circles between the papers without completion.

We have to invest the entire time in the actual achievement, so we stopped theorising and drowning in the printing of documents that include many papers, their shape is beautiful and their content is good, but they suffer from a lack of implementation.

This mission requires high-level competencies who are bold to accomplish, face challenges, not pay attention to resistance, and ignore any attempts at distortions.

Even if a mission government is not formed, the current government or others must realise that it is a mission government and must complete the mission without procrastination or delay.

In order to link the idea to implementation, I suggest to the “mission” government a set of immediate reforms that have a positive and comprehensive impact, on top of that restoring confidence in institutions and those in charge of them, as trust is what affects the economy the most, namely:

1. Anyone who receives a monthly salary of more than 4000 dinars from his/her work, the amount in excess of 4000 dinars is transferred to the public treasury regardless of the different titles of salary, allowances, board memberships, bonuses, allowances, or others. This applies to all ministries, departments, public institutions, official institutions, municipalities and the like.

2. Whoever receives a monthly pension salary or salaries from social security, civil and military retirement, and unions of more than 4000 dinars, the amount in excess of 4000 dinars is deducted and transferred to the public treasury.

3. If a retiree returns to public work (in any form), the amount in excess of 4000 dinars is deducted and transferred to the public treasury. This includes all his/her pension, current salary, bonuses, allowances, board membership and other benefits.

4. The amount of 4000 dinars constitutes a ceiling for any salaries and privileges for all categories in the future.

5. Deleting the article that gives boards of directors of government-owned companies and social security companies the authority to determine their remunerations, bonuses, and allowances. This is not reasonable, but rather it must be determined from a higher reference. The amount in excess of 4,000 dinars is deducted and transferred to the public treasury regardless of the different terms and names. This applies to companies wholly or partially owned more than 25 per cent.

6. Stopping the participation of expatriates in social security, because the majority of them are workers to whom dangerous professions and early retirement apply, and this is costly on security and extends for many years that may exceed 40 years for expatriate retirees. The worst part also is that the money is spent outside the country and therefore the economy does not benefit from it.

7. Suspending the work of all social security insurances and funds, except for old-age pension, which involves the involvement of security in many matters, exhaustion and dispersal of security funds in the long term.

8. Cessation of all types of pension funds except for social security, and this includes the complete cessation of civil retirement for all groups, including ministers, as well as cessation of work in unions’ pension funds to limit their use for electoral purposes, especially when they are under bankruptcy and due to its social and security effects, and the maintenance of investment funds. Which bear profit and loss and urges achievement.

9. Cessation of all forms of end-of-service benefits as long as the person is subject to social security retirement.

10. Implementing all mergers of institutions once and directly in the law of restructuring government institutions and departments. This happened in 2014, when 14 institutions were canceled at once through that law. This is better than carrying it over to a few years later.

11. Stopping granting any exceptions and exemptions from taxes and stop working with the zero tax, as its harm is more than its benefit, while evaluating and legalising the current exceptions and exemptions.

12. Stopping the reappointments of retired ministers and higher categories on the boards of directors of institutions and government-owned companies and social security companies at a 25 per cent or more owned by government, social security or both. In return, attracting competencies with specialisation and capabilities and working according to indicators to achieve them.

13. Reducing the number of board members, trustees and commissioners to no more than 4 members in addition to the president or chairperson.

14. Stopping allocating government cars to all officials, including ministers, as well as stopping allocating cars at the expense of government-owned companies and social security companies, including board chairmen. Everyone uses his personal cars and the fuel and maintenance at his/her own expense.

15. Introducing a unified government health insurance tender in which a coalition of hospitals participates in order to control the bill for medical treatments and stop treatment outside the country at the expense of the state, whatever the reasons.

16. The work of deputies, senators and the governorate councils is entirely voluntary without compensation.

17. Ceasing all forms of donations, giveaways or grants, regardless of their form, type and source, as this leads to the erosion of the trust balance, and work in this field is limited to the National Aid Fund for those who deserve it.

18. Setting a ceiling for any taxes or fees on products and services so that they do not, in any case, exceed 25 per cent of the value of these products and services, in order to maintain their attractiveness and competitiveness.

19. Canceling any items for current expenditures in the capital expenditures item, such as salaries, bonuses, furniture, etc., and limiting their spending to external parties (outside the institution) who implement capital projects and according to criteria, eligibility and achievement.

20. The complete digital transformation of the services of the investment and business sector, especially those that are jointly provided by more than one government agency.

21. Issuing an annual report on Jordan's grades and rankings in the most prominent international indicators, and working to constantly improve them.

22. Rebalancing the organisational and employee structures and budgets, so that 70 per cent of them are for the core functions that institutions were established to achieve, and 30 per cent for the supporting functions that enable institutions to carry out their core functions and achieve their strategic goals.

23. The governorate councils should not assume any executive roles or tasks in order to avoid overlapping tasks. This is the role of government departments and municipalities.

24. Identifying a limited number of indicators covering all dimensions, followed up permanently from the highest levels, and the government is committed to publishing a semi-annual performance report on the level of achievement according to these indicators. If the level of achievement does not exceed 70 per cent of the targets, the government will automatically resign and this applies to the leaders of departments and institutions.

25. Reducing the number of deputies to 80, the number of senators to a maximum of 40, and the number of governorates councils members to 60.

26. Directing the entire external support and grants to the public treasury to support the general budget without conditions and stopping directing grants to specific projects or to be conditional (other than the national performance indicators) or to civil society organisations.

27. Full self-financing of parties, forums, associations and civil society organisations and to stop receiving any financial support from any party, including the government and supporting international institutions.

28. Controlling the reports related to the severe diseases and severe disabilities in accordance with the most accurate and fair standards, and the inadmissibility of returning to work, including membership of boards of directors, trustees and commissions.

29. Activating accountability not only for corruption, but for poor performance at all levels, with referral to the judiciary.

30. The responsibility rests with the Audit Bureau, the Integrity and Anti-Corruption Commission, the Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Unit, and the specialised and sectoral regulatory bodies to detect, remove and publish any violations of any kind or name immediately or within three months of their occurrence, as a maximum. Otherwise, these entities will be held accountable for this failure.

This is my suggestion regarding the current situation and the "mission" government and examples of immediate measures that cannot be delayed, because delaying them has a negative impact on the economic, financial, administrative, social and security terms.

These measures may not be sufficient, but they are undoubtedly a step or steps in the right direction.

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