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Lower House hears deliberations over gov't policy statement for sixth day


The Jordan Times


AMMAN — The Lower House on Tuesday continued its deliberations over the government's policy statement for the sixth day before a vote of confidence in the Cabinet of Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Bisher Al Khasawneh.
The House commenced the deliberations on  January 5, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.
Under the Constitution, the Cabinet that was formed while Parliament is dissolved shall present its policy statement within one month of the inauguration of the newly elected Lower House.
The House decided earlier to allocate 20 minutes to each deputy and 30 minutes to each bloc to address the government's policy statement.
During the session, chaired by Speaker AbdulMunim Odat and attended by the prime minister and members of the Cabinet, MP Mohammed Merayat called for ending the partial and comprehensive lockdowns, highlighting their negative economic effects on the public.
He also drew attention to the importance of restoring respect and confidence of the public in the House, adding that the government also is required to restore the citizen's confidence in the executive authority.
MP Ahmed Khalayleh called for an overall assessment for the Kingdom’s foreign policy on the occasion of the centennial of the Jordanian state.
For his part, Deputy Emad Edwan called on the government to disclose its anti-corruption policy, stressing the importance of fighting administrative corruption, which lays the ground for financial corruption, wondering if the government has developed programmes for economic recovery and sustainable development.
Speaking on behalf of the Justice bloc, MP Mijhem Al Sgour asked the government to set a timetable for the actions it promised to take, calling for an expansion of student loans and scholarships, as well as a decrease in university fees. He also urged to reconsider the current election law.
MP Mohammed Fayez stressed that “weakening teachers would weaken the whole nation”, criticising the recent governmental action of referring some teachers to early retirement.
MP Omar Zyoud called for renewing the political rhetoric and the general economic approach, emphasising the need of updating the mechanisms for addressing crises.
Zyoud also criticised the ongoing increases in taxes, customs, and energy and water bills, pointing out that some 300,000 Jordanian families depend on support from the National Aid Fund (NAF).
MP Nimer Abbadi noted that the Kingdom’s debt increased from JD13 billion to JD31 billion over eight years, despite generous aid from the Gulf countries, which for instance, reached JD3 billion.
He also asked the government, represented by the Labour Ministry, to set a clear time frame to lower unemployment rates, while at the same time, wondering about the future plans of the Ministry of Social Development to tackle the issue of poverty.
Additionally, Abbadi called on the government to reveal its plan for addressing problems associated with e-learning as experienced by students and their families.
MP Hayel Ayesh argued that there is “no real will for political reform so long as current distorted laws are in effect”, notably the Election Law.
He also called on the government to reconsider the sales and income taxes, urging the government to protect national products and exports and eliminate taxes and duties on farmers and reschedule their debts.

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