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Government panel outlines new economic measures


The Jordan Times


AMMAN — The government announced on Monday during a panel discussion held at the Royal Cultural Centre in Amman that taxes on electric vehicles have been lowered, management spending and purchasing will be unified on a single online platform and bureaucracy will be reduced.
The panel discussion, following Prime Minister Omar Razzaz's opening remarks, saw the participation of Finance Minister Mohamad Al-Ississ, Secretary General of the Prime Ministry Sami Dawood, Minister of State for Institutional Performance Development Yasera Ghosheh, General Director of the General Supplies Department Nizar Mhaidat and President of the Legislation and Opinion Bureau Fida Hamoud.
Taxes on vehicles
During the panel, Al-Ississ announced that the government has lowered taxes on electric vehicles from 25 per cent to 10 per cent for vehicles with a motor capacity of up to 250 kilowatts and 15 per cent for vehicles with a motor capacity of 251 kilowatts and above. 
As for the weight tax, Al-Ississ noted that it was previously based on the vehicle's weight alone, which was "unjust", as someone buying an old model would have to pay the same taxes as someone buying a new model with the same weight.
Thus, the government abolished the weight tax and replaced it with a separate 4 per cent tax imposed on the original total value of the vehicle. 
"This will reduce the financial burden imposed by the weight tax, but more importantly, it will make a distinction between luxury vehicles and regular ones," the minister noted. 
The minister also announced that consumption rates that were changed in 2017 will be brought back to their original levels as well, noting that this was one of the sector's main demands.
Government budget
For his part, Mhaidat announced the launch of a new public sector purchasing system that replaces 56 systems. 
He also announced the merging of the unified purchases and general supplies departments into one department titled "Government Purchases Department". 
Mhaidat said that his department is working on a project that aims at controlling spending, noting that under this project, each government department will have to determine its annual needs at the beginning of the year, which will then be announced online for transparency in order to calculate these needs from the general budget.
As a result, Mhaidat said, no funding will be dispensed outside of what was announced at the beginning of the year, which should help in paying off the budget’s debt.
He noted that the new systems ensure “proper governance and total transparency”, as well as minimise human resources and utilise technology to enhance efficiency.
For his part, Minister of State Yasera Ghosheh said that a study conducted in 2018 aimed at reconsidering the roles of certain government departments, which is why certain institutions have been abolished or merged with others. 
The work in this regard will continue, as ministries have one month to reconsider departments beyond the announced eight, evaluating the need for those departments in order to decide their fate. 
The minister said that relaying the tasks of certain departments to others and merging will “significantly lower” operational costs, which she said will appear in the budget clearly at some point. 
For his part, Dawood announced that as of January 1, 2020, there will be a new civil service system that will treat public sector employees equally in ministries and departments. 
Based on international studies and standards, the government has also evaluated the number of directors at certain commissions and departments in order to resolve any imbalance and ensure that the appropriate numbers of directors are employed.
These procedures and changes will not affect certain independent entities, such as the Independent Election Commission, the Central Bank of Jordan and the Audit Bureau, he added. 
"Twenty-nine per cent of citizen applications unnecessarily reach the Cabinet," Dawood said, noting that the government sent 175 legislations to the Lower House in order to reconsider these applications and reduce bureaucracy. 
Bundle's impact
Minister of State for Media Affairs Amjad Adaileh said in a tweet on his official Twitter account that the new bundle “will help many sectors” and resolve various hindrances and inefficiencies in management and bureaucracy. 
He added that this will reflect positively on services provided to the public and that this is at the top of His Majesty King Abdullah's priorities and at the core of the Royal directives to the government. 

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