(MENAFN - Jordan News Agency) Public Sector Reform An amended civil service bylaw was introduced, which included a number of amendments such as: the introduction of the flexible working system for public sector employees; the activation of the principle of reward and punishment in public services; and the development of employee performance evaluation mechanisms.
The instructions and criteria for the selection and appointment of employees in Government posts were issued.
A study to restructure Government institutions was conducted, focusing on state-owned enterprises. The study included a number of proposals to cancel/merge/develop the organizational structure of a number of Government institutions.
Development of Government Services Through the E-Government and Digital Economy: The prior approvals (including security clearance), required for registering economic activities within (14) departments were canceled in order to change all non-security pre-approvals to registration requirements.
The procedures for obtaining (98) services in (16) Government departments were re-engineered.
Paperless Government: Implementation has already started in (13) Governmental institutions for re-engineering procedures, where a total of (243) services were re-engineered; (86) e-services are operational and (36) services have been automated. The first phase of the "Tarasul" project was completed (the project aims to reduce the use of paper in Government institutions).
More than (160) employees and (330) graduates have been trained in the use of these services.
Four smartphone applications have been developed for the Social Security Corporation, the Department of Lands and Survey, the Land Transport Regulatory Commission and the Ministry of Justice.
Approximately (970) sites in the Kingdom were connected through the fiber optic network program.
ICT graduates' employment program was expanded to provide training opportunities for employment in the private sector and universities. The program kicked off its third phase in September 2017 targeting (1,000) graduates instead of an original (500).
The ICT Advisory Council was restructured on 20 June, 2017 and included representatives of local entrepreneurs, a rapporteur from the Royal Hashemite Court/Economic Development Department and several new members including (Board Chairman of the Information and Communications Technology Association of Jordan (int@j), the Board Chairman of 'Oasis 500', and a representative of the telecommunications sector.
Investment and Ease of Doing Business A new investment map of the Kingdom was drawn up including (240) small, medium and large investment opportunities and projects covering numerous sectors of the economy (launched in September 2017).
The procedures pertaining to the registration and licensing of investment projects were reduced. Previously, the process was carried out through a total of (40) committees, but is now finalized through only (13).
The period required for registration in development zones was reduced from (5) to one business days.
The period required for granting or renewing investor cards was reduced from (5) to two business days.
Reducing the period required for granting exemptions from (5) days to one day.
A comprehensive promotional strategic plan was developed and the Country Intelligence Report was also finalized.
Industrial and Trade Policies Jordan signed a deal with the European Union on simplifying the rules of origin. Accordingly, (10) companies were granted customs clearance to the EU and (3) companies have exported products to EU markets.
The 2017-2021 industrial policy, to expand the industrial production base and increase the existing production capacity, was approved by Cabinet.
An alternative national industry support program was approved and will be directed to all industrial sectors - the Partial Exemption Program (70 percent) on net industry income. It will go into effect as of January 1st, 2019.
Securing an exemption from the World Trade Organization (WTO) for the Jordanian Export Support Program, whereby exports' profits are exempt from income tax until December 31st, 2018.
Granting exemptions on equipment and hardware used for connecting factories with natural gas pipelines, as stipulated by the investment law.
Government procurement of supplies and medicines was limited to the local industry, in this case there were three producers or more or giving a preference of (15 percent) to others.
The re-opening of the Karameh Border Crossing (Turaibil) on August 30th, 2017 and exempting Jordanian exports (371 products) from the Iraqi decision to impose customs duties by 30 percent.
Securing approval from the Egyptian Government to facilitate and expedite the registration procedures for Jordanian companies exporting to Egypt so that it takes a week, and securing a 50-percent deduction on the transit fees.
The Foreign Trade Policy for (2018-2022) was formulated to develop foreign trade, increase exports and open up potential export markets for Jordanian products.
An ad hoc national unit for the United States-Jordan Free Trade Agreement was established.
An export guide to African markets was developed and launched on August 24th, 2016.
A National Strategy for Entrepreneurship and the development of micro, small and medium enterprises in Jordan was drafted.
Highway Construction and Development Projects Highways: Work has commenced on the Desert Highway, Al-Beshreyah-Azraq Road, Petroleum Refinery-Zarqa Road and a 16-km part of the Mafraq-Safawi highway, whereby the tenders of these projects were awarded in 2017 at a total cost of about JOD (177) million. Additionally, work on progress to complete (7) main highway projects at a total cost of JOD (327) million: Zarqa-Azraq-Al Omari highway and Irbid Ring Road (Phase I) and Salt Ring Road (Phase I). Moreover, the Amman Development Corridor Project and other road projects were also completed at the cost of JOD (148) million.
Other Development Projects: Construction of the Amman Customs Center project in Madouneh at the cost of JOD (94) million (lease-based) started. Furthermore, four industrial cities projects (Salt, Jarash, Tafileh and Makdaba) and satellite factories are under construction at the cost of JOD (30) million.
Healthcare Health centers: A total of (20) health centers were expanded and constructed. New health centers were opened in Jubaiha, Badr Al-Jadeedah, Al-Rawdhah.
Hospitals: Four hospitals were expanded (Princess Rahma Hospital/ Irbid, Nadeem Hospital/ Madaba, Ghor Al Safi Hospital, Jerash Public Hospital).Work was also completed on the 200-bed Al-Iman Hospital in Ajloun and the 350-bed Salt New Hospital projects.
Work has started on the construction of the new Princess Basma Hospital/ Irbid with a 500-bed capacity. Studies and design drafts for the construction of a new public hospital in Madaba with a capacity of (350) beds have started.
Furthermore, the construction of the Tafileh 150-bed public hospital has also started. Studies and design drafts for the Emergency Room Building at Al Bashir Hospital have also begun.
Addressing the shortage of medical personnel: Amending the scholarship bylaw and approving a doctor scholarship plan for Ministry of Health cadres and Non-Ministry cadres.
Digitization of health services: A total of (46) primary health centers, (9) comprehensive health centers and (4) hospitals had their systems digitized in 2017 and have started to use the patient billing system. The pilot phase of an electronic system for regulating health insurance payments (E-Claim) was completed. Work is also underway to digitize two services: Pharmacy licensing and nursing practice licensing.
Medical Tourism: An action plan for medical tourism has been drafted. A survey of patients coming for treatment in the Kingdom has also been carried out.
Accreditation: The Health Care Accreditation Council (HCAC) has started to implement the accreditation criteria. Moreover, a guide to prepare primary health care centers to implement accreditation standards was developed, in addition to the drafting of the Medical Liability Law.
Social Safety Net Programs Underprivileged Families and Women Empowerment Total number of families benefiting from the National Aid Fund (NAF) reached (92,519) families by the end of 2017, at the cost of JOD (100) million.
Enrollment of low-income families' children in vocational and technical training programs has been increased, bringing the total number of trainees who joined training programs this year to (2,012).
An additional monthly payment of a maximum of JOD (90) was provided to families benefitting from NAF. The number of families benefiting from this program reached (10,000).
The monthly aid provided to low-income families was increased by (10) percent of their monthly entitlement.
The winter financial assistance paid to all beneficiary families totaled JOD (2.5) million.
The number of disability care beneficiaries reached a total of (29,448).
With regards to the Welfare and Social Protection of women, children and the elderly, the Government provided the necessary services benefitting (6,366) persons in addition to (22,120) children.
The total number of juvenile delinquents benefiting from provided care services reached (4,963).
Zakat Fund A total of 57 non-refundable productive projects were financed and distributed among low-income families in a number of poverty pockets.
An initiative to distribute (10,000) food and clothing coupons was carried out during the holy month of Ramadan.
Food and clothing coupons (JOD 50 per coupon) were extended to low-income families in various governorates.
400 orphans were assisted, in addition to financially supporting (1,649) low-income families.
Activating the share of debtors in the Zakat Fund, which resulted in the repayment of debts owed by 385 women.
Price Stability: The Civil Consumer Corporation (CCC) kept prices below local market prices by (5.5) percent. Furthermore, the CCC expanded its geographical presence by (44) percent, reaching remote areas and poverty pockets.
The Military Consumer Corporation was also supported, in order to keep prices unchanged.
Foodstuffs (Bread and Fodder) were subsidized by JOD (140) million annually.
Health Insurance: Medical treatment for non-insured persons was provided at a cost exceeding JOD (150) million annually.
Jordanians over 70 years of age were included in the health insurance scheme (for those over 60 years of age will be included in 2018).
Low-income families whose income is less than JOD (300) were included in the health insurance scheme.
Household Electricity and Cooking Gas Subsidy: Subsidizing households whose monthly consumption is less than 500 kilowatt at a total cost of JOD 135 million.
Homes built on lands outside Municipal regulated zones were supplied with electricity at the cost of JOD (5.6) million.
The annual cooking gas subsidy reached JOD (44) million.
Water Subsidy: The annual water subsidies is estimated at JOD240 million.
Public Universities Support: Subsidies for public universities stands at about JOD (72) million, in addition to the support extended to the Needy Student Fund (from which 40,000 students benefit).
Farmer Support A total of JOD (51) million was extended as loans for the benefit of more than (10,000) farmers.
A total of JOD (18.5) million was extended as interest-free loans for the benefit of (3,000) farmers and livestock breeders.
The ceiling of the central bank's advance granted to the Agricultural Credit Corporation (ACC) was increased by JOD (10) million.
For the first time, the Agricultural Risk Fund was activated, extending compensations to 420 farmers affected by a frost spell at the cost of JOD1.4 million.
Wages: The minimum wage was raised from JOD (190) to JOD (220).
Governorates Development and Productivity Enhancement Programs Governorates Development: The number of infrastructure projects implemented in various governorates reached (143) projects in areas of agriculture, health, education, tourism, environment and culture, at the cost of JOD (87.3) million.
Productivity Enhancement Programs: A total of (60) productive projects of local community institutions were funded; various development initiatives were launched; (6) Zaha Cultural Centers in the governorates were established; (50) productive projects/ productive schools were established; productive branches in the governorates were launched, in addition to assisting in the establishment of (1186) productive projects (SMEs).
Youth Sector: Vital programs were carried out to raise awareness about the dangers of extremism and terrorism, confront hate speech, and delivers education about other societal problems such as drugs and violence. A total of 50,000 youth benefited from these programs.
Carrying youth polarization programs, which resulted in an increase in the number of youth engagements in Youth Centers by 40%.
(37353) youth participated in Hussein's camps for work and construction.
Establishing (12) social sports clubs.
Establishing (8) new football fields.
Held the Entrepreneurship Conference in cooperation with (49) companies and institutions supporting more than (1000) young people.
Agricultural Sector The Government has succeeded in increasing Jordanian agricultural exports to the European and Russian markets, where efforts have been pursued to obtain customs preferences in the Russian market.
Agricultural exports during the first eleven months of 2017 amounted to about JOD (346) million, which constitutes 8.5% of the total national exports, compared to JOD (378) million on 2016 (GoJ will adopt new policies to promote exports in 2018).
Achieving crops Self-sufficiency ratio of different crops such as potatoes, carrots, onions and garlic, increased to (80%), from an original (55%).
Adopting agriculture loan programs aimed at boosting the agricultural sector in a qualitative way, that contribute to reducing poverty and unemployment in the countryside and the Jordanian Badia, targeting women specifically.
Adopting measures that have contributed to stabilizing the prices of live livestock and meats, by regulating imports according to the needs of local markets.
Production of (60) tons of wheat and barley seeds, and the reduction of the use of pesticides in protected areas in the Jordan Valley to 70%, through the use of integrated control techniques.
Distribution of (12) mobile veterinary clinics in all governorates, equipped with comprehensive veterinary equipment, and the immunization of livestock against epidemic diseases through (11.5) million doses of veterinary vaccines, as well as licensing 3,462 establishments in the field of livestock.
Tourism Sector The number of visitors to the Kingdom rose to 5.2 million in 2017, an increase of 8.7% compared to 2016.
Tourism income increased by (12.5) percent during 2017 reaching USD (4.6) billion.
Jordan ranked among the top 50 countries in the World Security and Safety Index, attracting tourism, moving up two spots on the global tourism scale.
Jordan has been listed as one of the top 2018 tourism destinations by many international travel magazines such as National Geographic, Vogue (USA), Sunday Times (UK), Conde Nast (UK), and The Guardian newspaper.
Improving legislation related to the development of the tourism sector, including the Tourism Law, Regulation of the Baptism Site, issuing instructions pertaining to travelers' insurance policies outside the Kingdom, and the issuance of the guidelines for licensing traditional industry institutions.146 flights from the Russian market in 2017, compared to 80 in 2016, and 44 new flights from the Scandinavian market in 2017, in addition to attracting low-cost flights targeting foreigners living in Dubai with 34 flights in 2017.
Municipal Services Paying-off JOD (60) million of the total debt owed to the municipalities, amounting to JOD (130) million.
Delivery of (73) vehicles to the municipalities in 2017 (will be distributing another (149) in mid-2018), and the delivery of (2,000) garbage containers (8,000 containers will be distributed during the current year 2018).
Approve the comprehensive plans for the northern and central regions emanating from the National Solid Waste Management Strategy.
Reconstruction, rehabilitation and development of the infrastructure of the Al-Akidar landfill (streets, buildings, lighting) and the establishment of a 50-dunum solid concrete-lined engineering cell.
Establishment of productive development projects in a number of municipalities such as a ready-made garment factory and a contemporary olive oil factory (17 production branches).
The establishment of more than (11) handicraft areas in different regions of the Kingdom.
Licenses granted to private sector enterprises to develop projects exceeded (123) projects in different municipalities.
Implementation of the final phase of the project to automate building and land tax (93% completion rate).
Environmental Sector Initiating the establishment of a national system for solid waste monitoring, and continuing the implementation of the national awareness campaign to reduce the random dumping of waste.
Disposing of approximately 70% of ozone-depleting substances.
Launching the National Green Growth Plan and launching a number of projects supporting a green economy, including the Energy Efficiency Initiative in Jordan.
Implementation of the electronic tracking system for domestic wastewater tanks, and wastewater and hazardous waste transport vehicles, wherein 129,732 environmental violations were seized.
The establishment of checkpoints at the entrances to the Jordan Valley, to prevent the entry of unrefined organic manure.
Drilling (22) rainwater harvest pits with a capacity of (2.3) million square meters.
Municipal and Local Councils Elections The government successfully carried out municipal and local councils elections, which took place in 2017.
The Government provided all means of support to the Independent Electoral Commission, in order to ensure the success of these elections in terms of: establishing regulations and arrangements for the implementation of municipal law and decentralization; preparing programs that crystallize the tasks assigned to local and executive councils.
Carrying out large awareness campaigns to inform citizens of decentralization and its importance, in addition to motivating citizens by various means to encourage them to participate in the electoral process.
The Government also carried out awareness campaigns, workshops to provide members of local councils with the skills and knowledge necessary for their work and to familiarize them with the mechanisms of preparing the local budgets and how to prepare development needs and plans, and define the tasks and roles of the councils and mechanisms of work and how to cooperate with municipalities and community institutions.
Fighting Extremism The GoJ supports and continues to enhance efforts to hold activities and cultural festivals that reflect our national identity, as well as our historical and cultural reality. On this note, the city of Amman was chosen as the capital of Islamic culture in 2017, given the great role played by Jordan, under your Majesty's guidance and leadership, in highlighting the tolerant image of Islam and standing up in the face of challenges and the practices which the Khawarij have carried out in recent history, in the name of Islam.
Conducting Capacity building training sessions for public sector employees on countering extremism and violence (23 leaders graduated).
Implementing a national project entitled 'Talaki' for Jordanian youth in six main governorates, with the aim of creating awareness among students about the role of culture and arts in confronting extremism (1,000 students trained).
Conducting various cultural competitions in cooperation with Jordanian universities and the Ministry of Higher Education, in order for students to acquire the skills of tolerance and addressing violence and extremism (the faculties of journalism, media and arts targeted).
Implementing programs and workshops on the dangers of extremism and violence for prison administration personnel/ DPS and the Ministry of Social Development/ juvenile detention centers.] Pursuing cooperation and coordination with international institutions to support Jordan's efforts if fighting extremism and terrorism.
Supporting the infrastructure of cultural centers in numerous governorates, youth centers and juvenile detention centers.
With regards to religious discourse, the Government has taken important steps and implemented important programs in the field of caring for mosques and religious institutions, through training of imams and preachers for the purpose of spreading the concept of moderate religious enlightenment discourse and countering the dangers of extremist thought.
The Government implemented a two-stage training program, which benefited all imams and preachers, for the purpose of discussing Jurisprudence schools, fighting suspicions of takfir and extremism in a scientific approach.
Taking other important steps such as controlling the fund-raising processes in mosques.
Combating Crime and Drugs The percentage of solved crimes amounted to 91.5% during 2017 (total number of crimes is 21,920, of which 20,060 were solved).
The total number of seized drugs amounted to (41.75) million tablets and approximately (21.3) million narcotic pills, as well as the seizure of (14,726) bags of 'Joker' and the total quantity of the rest of the items seized exceeded (2,672) kg.
The total number of drug cases amounted to (13,950), and the number of people involved (19,930), of which (1,321) were treated in treatment centers as addicts.
Enabling Legislation: A total of (37) draft and amended laws were approved and referred to the Parliament for approval. The Cabinet also approved (157) draft and amended by-laws.
Jordanian Diplomacy and Foreign Affairs (The shrewd Jordanian diplomacy that Your Majesty spearheads, has kept us secure in the face of regional crises. The presence and respect Your Majesty commands facilitate the work of our embassies and diplomats abroad. Our moderate and balanced policy has earned us respect of the entire world) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriate Affairs has taken immediate practical steps to ensure the provision of better consular services to citizens and to address deficiencies, and setting timeframes to provide such services.
Cancellation of the tax exemption card for diplomats, consular corps and diplomats accredited to the Kingdom as of 1 January, 2018.
Establishing an electronic complaints system, and linking it to the Ministry of Foreign and Expatriate Affairs.
Connecting (4) new diplomatic missions with the Internet Voice Over, bringing the total missions linked to the system to (48).
Establishing two new Jordanian embassies in Addis Ababa and Oslo, bringing the total number of embassies to (58), in addition to providing Jordanian diplomatic missions with new passport printing machines and rehabilitating public service halls at embassies.
Opening a Civil Status and Passports Department office within the Foreign Ministry to serve Jordanian diplomatic missions that do not have a passport system.
Establishment of Accreditation and Authentication offices throughout the Kingdom.
Jordanian Diplomacy Jordan successfully hosted the Arab League's 28th Summit. To that end, the preparatory and organizing committees of this major Arab and regional event have exerted all efforts to ensure successful meetings, showing high levels of transparency and readiness worthy of the deep-rooted Arab and Jordanian tradition of hospitality.
Achieving the Jordanian-Russian-American agreement to support a ceasefire in southern Syria, and the establishment of the De-Escalated Zone. Additionally, Jordan participated in the Astana talks (6,7,8) as an observer.
Jordan's membership on the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency for the period from 2017-2019.
Amman hosted the meeting of the Stability Support Group, chaired by the United Arab Emirates and Germany, which is the result of the international coalition to eradicate the ISIL terrorist group.
The Jordanian-UAE Joint High Committee convened in Amman (12 documents were signed).
Amman hosted the meeting of political directors of the mini-group of the International Alliance countries to eradicate the ISIL terrorist group.
Jordan's membership in the Global Partnership Group against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Jordan's membership in the Executive Council of UNESCO. In addition, the Executive Council of the United Nations/UNESCO unanimously adopted a resolution for the first time, keeping the Jerusalem issue on the agenda of the Council.
Jordan's invitation to the meeting of the Council of the League of Arab States at a ministerial level, to discuss the declaration of the United States of America recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to address the Israeli aggression and violations against the Al-Aqsa Mosque Field Visits: The Government adopted an outreach approach of continuous and close communication to meet the needs of its citizens. The majority of the Government's work, which accounted for more than half of the allotted time (both PM and Ministers), was aimed at conducting field visits as well as the inauguration of projects.
In conclusion, the Government, assures Your Majesty that its priorities during 2018, will be to continue implementing the Executive Program as adopted in various areas, and to exert efforts towards the following priority areas: Continue to build upon the progress achieved and to speed up the implementation projects and measures pertaining to public sector reform and to improve the quality of public services provided to citizens and investors, namely, raising the productivity of public employees, increasing their compliance with the laws and regulations, activating the punishment and reward clauses in the civil service system, enhancing the role of the internal control units, while simultaneously continuing to structure and re-engineer all Government procedures and transactions, to finally reach the goal of 'a paperless Government'.
Commitment to implement financial reform program as per the IMF Extended Fund Facility Program (EFF) along with the JEGP's detailed action plans, which will ultimately put Jordan on a sustainable growth trajectory and ensure its economic resilience in the face of regional turmoil.
Achieve greater progress in the implementation of the National Strategy for HRD, structuring of the vocational and technical training sector in Jordan and moving forward with the implementation of the empowerment and employment programs, which will contribute to alleviating unemployment and poverty.
Commitment to full implementation of the Royal Commission for the Development of the Judiciary System's recommendations, in addition to actualizing the necessary legislation, strengthening the rule of law and continuing the national program to combat terrorism and extremism as well as the anti-crime and drug programs.
Strengthen and institutionalize the social safety net in such a way so as to ensure the social protection needed by the lower and middle classes, as well as promoting the decentralization approach and providing all the means for its success and to achieve tangible results on the ground, while simultaneously strengthening local municipal councils' capacities to perform their role in providing services and achieve development in all governorates, as well as enhancing women's economic participation.
Achieving tangible results in developing the transport sector, which is characterized by many delays, in addition to finalizing a clear strategy for the transport sector during the next five years.
Continue strengthening economic resilience by enhancing the food security system, the security of energy supply and the security of water supply, as essential elements to hedge Jordan from any external shocks.
As for the security and stability of Jordan, the Government will not hesitate to provide all forms of support to JAF and other security agencies, in order to remain steadfast in the face of Khawarij and terrorists.
With regards to Jordanian diplomacy, the Government will continue to strengthen Jordan's active role in promoting joint Arab action and its influential role within the Arab League, and to continue strengthening our diplomatic presence on the international stage. The Government will continue supporting the Palestinians in obtaining their legitimate rights in establishing a Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital, pledging to uphold Your Majesty's role as Custodian of Jerusalem's Holy Sites.
Your Majesty, With your unwavering support and guidance, and with the support of all Jordanians, the Government is determined to overcome all challenges and fulfill to the best of our abilities, the aspirations and hopes of our citizens. Moreover, the Government reaffirms that it will always remain committed to implementing its preset programs with fervor, in addition to overcoming any shortfalls that occurred or those which were not achieved during 2017, particularly with reference to sectors that showed unsatisfactory progress, and to succeed in realizing tangible progress in the current year and the years ahead.
Peace, mercy and blessings of God be upon you.
Your Faithful Honest Servant, Prime Minister Dr. Hani Al-Mulki S Kh
4/2/2018 - 01:45:15 PM