(MENAFN- Alghad Newspaper)
The government says that there is no other way but to raise prices on so many commodities and services to fund its budget deficit. Additionally, there is the regional situation and the reception of foreign grants and aid to consider, especially the suspension of Arab aid.
Combined, these factors have forced our government to take decisions it does not want to take, or so it says, to deal with a reality it, obviously, cannot change. But is this not what sets, apart from all the rest, a competent and intelligent government? As opposed to just going for the easiest, and probably the most dangerous solution!
The government says that 2019 will be less challenging for Jordanians. It says we need to be patient, for yet another year, to pull through this crisis intact.
Balance is at stake. And what the government is talking about is fiscal and financial balance, in light of the recent leap in public debt, which is well into the danger zone.
Meanwhile, citizens cannot afford any more price hikes. Their incomes are already drained, as limited as they are, and most cannot cover their expenses as it is, without the shocking price hikes.
The government left the people only so few options unchanged.
People keeps blaming the government and criticising the reinterring policies so far even after all the sacrifices people have made over the years. None of it was easy. And it was not made any easier by the concurrent price hikes leading up to these most recent ones!
Jordanian families hold the government responsible for the deterioration of their situation. Now they have even more questions to ask.
Doesn't the government see how gigantic these hikes are? That the people really cannot afford them? Has the government really extorted all other options before resorting to the people's incomes? Have they laid out plans to develop the economy in a way that would carry us all?
There are convincing arguments on both sides. The people's view is that they cannot take it. And the government's is that they have to, and the people will just have to deal with yet another year.
Between those two views, arriving at balance is difficult, and saying for sure that the next few years will not see any more harsh decisions is just wishful thinking.
Had the government worked on constructing a national economic project, entailing developmental projects to balance this out, it would have given people hope. Despite the calamity of it.
Had these decisions been part of an encompassing economic reform, as opposed to merely fiscal, and had the government sought to appeal to the public's confidence, the people would certainly feel differently about it! Alas, they didn't.
Mulqi's government just broke the record for the number of commodities included in the price hike. There are hundreds of commodities effected by the government's recent decisions.
Only a few basic commodities were left untouched, but this doesn't mean that the Jordanians' dietary commodities are out of the woods yet! A lot is expected of the government at this point to improve the public's perception of its performance, and convince them that they're not the only ones paying the price of reform!
The government has now to convince the people that we are all in this together!
Nothing past governments have done ever even came close to Mulqi's ravishing revamps.
To the prime minister, this is an achievement.
However, an official with ability to place the citizenry's very food security at stake, without ever blinking an eye, should at least have the courage to restore the treasury's stolen fortunes, really fight corruption to show Jordanians that Jordan is on the right path to a bright, hopeful future.
This article is an edited translation of the Arabic version, published by AlGhad.
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