Monday 23rd of September 2019 |
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PM launches social protection strategy to alleviate, fortify against poverty


Rana Husseini, The Jordan Times


AMMAN — Under the theme “opportunities, dignity and empowerment”, Prime Minister Omar Razzaz on Wednesday launched the Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Strategy for 2019-2025 that aims at supporting the country’s underprivileged population.
In addition to supporting impoverished Jordanians, the strategy seeks to protect other social classes from sliding into poverty, according to government officials.
Addressing attendees during the launching event, Razzaz stressed that the strategy follows His Majesty King Abdullah’s directives of enhancing social protection.
“King Abdullah focused on humanising the state in a way that reflects our culture as Jordanians, and that is why we focused on dignity, creating opportunities and empowering our people,” Razzaz told the gathering.
The social, economic and political constraints have pushed “our citizens to feel threatened and it is our duty to review all our programmes and strategies to ensure that they are comprehensive and avoid duplications,” Razzaz added.
One of the most dangerous elements of any society, according to the premier, is for poverty to become an inherited factor.
“Our plan is to focus on the underprivileged segment of our society and that is why we need to focus on empowering our citizens by focusing on investments and reaching out to the private sector,” the premier said.
Razzaz noted the strategy will be applied across many sectors, starting with education.
By the year 2025, Razzaz said, compulsory education will start for pupils from the age of five instead of six.
“Education is one of the biggest challenges we face and our focus will be to provide qualitative education in the entire country."
Razzaz added that “in order to ensure the dignity of our citizens, we will focus on supporting impoverished families and ensuring that more and more people would benefit from free health insurance”.
“Around 25,000 families will start receiving financial support starting Thursday, while 50,000 will receive free healthcare,” the premier assured the gathering.
Other means of support, Razzaz added, includes introducing 30,000 job opportunities to the labour market for Jordanians, supplying 5,000 families with solar system units, providing transportation to 10,000 families and guaranteeing good food supplies to some 50,000 school children.
“I assure you that the work on the strategy has already begun to reach a comprehensive social protection plan,” Razzaz said.
Minister of Planning and International Cooperation and State Minister for Economic Affairs Mohamad Al-Ississ, who presented an overview of the strategy, said the aim of the strategy is to adopt a new approach to “protect our citizens”.
“Our aim is to protect the poor class by empowering them through providing basic, comprehensive and high-quality services as well as aid to ensure their basic needs and standards of living,” Ississ said.
“We want to ensure that more Jordanians are enrolling in the labour market, protect our children from child labour and ensure that they would continue their education,” Ississ added.
Also addressing the gathering was the Director General of the Department of Statistics (DoS) Qasim Zu’bi, who pointed out that women’s participation in the labour market within the underprivileged segment of society is only 8 per cent.
“Imagine if we were able to increase the percentage of working females from impoverished families. It will surely make a big difference for everyone,” Zu’bi said.
He indicated that the poverty rate in Jordan reaches 15.7 per cent.
“We are hopeful that the strategy will decrease the poverty rates to around 12 per cent, which is an acceptable rate worldwide,” the DoS director added.
Several ministers pledged during the event to implement the 2019-2025 Social Protection Strategy and Poverty Alleviation plan by initiating programmes that would protect the impoverished and ensure their dignity (see story on page 3).
Government officials have said earlier this month that the strategy is a fundamental pillar for increasing national capabilities, empowering citizens and improving their living standards, as these principles were included in the National Strategy for Social Protection and Poverty for the years 2019-2025.
Officials have said that the strategy takes into consideration Jordan’s economic, social, demographic and political developments, as well as the Jordan 2025 document and the results of the 2015 Census of Population and Housing, in addition to the National Strategy for Human Resource Development and the National Employment Strategy.
The strategy is in line with the National Renaissance Project and the government’s priorities for the years 2019 and 2020 to build a comprehensive and integrated social protection system that will protect Jordanians from poverty. 

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