(MENAFN- Jordan Times) Jordan has managed over the past several years to withstand the extraordinary economic challenges resulting from the global financial crisis and the so-called Arab Spring in a bold manner.
The challenges facing Jordan were grave. In addition to the lack of natural resources, they include: hosting 1.5 million Syrian nationals escaping a gruelling war back home; trying to find substitutes for the disruptions and consequently the suspension of Egyptian gas supplies to the Kingdom which cost the economy billions of dinars, thus aggravating the problem of foreign debts; finding more water sources for the continuously growing population; dealing with the regional security situation; as well as local economic and social issues.
The country's record in dealing with these problems was astounding, according to facts and figures presented by Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour and members of his team at a meeting at the Prime Ministry with chief editors of Jordanian dailies on Monday.
According to figures supplied by the government, foreign currency reserves have reached a record high, expatriate remittances are on the rise, real growth rates continued to increase from 2.7 per cent in 2012 to an expected 3.8 per cent in 2015, inflation is dropping from 4.8 per cent in 2013 to an estimated 1.2 per cent this year, the budget deficit ratio to the gross domestic product dropped from 8.3 per cent in 2012 to 2.2 in 2014, and is expected to turn into a surplus this year.
Of course, this all can be attributed to various factors that include belt-tightening measures, sound planning, the drop in international oil prices and foreign assistance.
The positive figures, however, went in parallel with a drop in exports, a decrease in the number of tourists to the country and, most importantly, failure to address unemployment which, the prime minister says, continues to hover around 12 per cent despite the tens of thousands of job opportunities created by the government and the private sector every year, and a decline in the level of basic services as a result of the sudden population growth.
All in all, the government's performance is to be commended not only for tackling challenges during these difficult years, but also for introducing the Jordan 2025 vision, which sets the path for various policies, plans and projects to be implemented in the Kingdom over the coming years.
Among its priorities, the blueprint is to focus on projects whose impact should be felt by citizens, particularly in governorates suffering from high poverty and unemployment rates, and lacking services and development projects.
It is of paramount importance not only to attempt to fight unemployment but also to improve the output of the educational process into the local and regional labour market, something that can be done through taking bold measures to address shortcomings in the educational process.
In addition, it would also be wise to introduce more transparency in government procedures at various levels, give more access to information to the media, speed up the process of introducing e-government services, attract more tourists by allocating additional funds to the concerned ministry and authorities, work more on fighting corruption, cut red tape, improve basic services and facilitate procedures for investors.
All this should not involve words or plans that are shelved, but be translated into deeds whose outcome ordinary citizens can positively feel.
The government has done really well in overcoming major challenges, a fact that is much appreciated, particularly since this comes at a very difficult time.
But making the results of these achievements felt by citizens has to be a top priority.
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