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    08-May-2017

House speaker outlines lawmakers’ achievements in ordinary session

 

The Jordan Times

 

AMMAN — Lower House Speaker Atef Tarawneh on Sunday held a press conference to outline the Lower House's accomplishments during the ordinary session that lasted between the November 7, 2016 and the May 7, 2017.
 
Tarawneh started his conference, held at the Lower House, by congratulating media personnel for their recent election of a new syndicate head, vice president and council members, commending the election as a true democratic practice.
 
“We assure you that the doors for cooperation are always open between the Lower House and the new syndicate board as you are the mirror of the truth and we share a similar oversight mandate,” he said.
 
Tarawneh highlighted the “transparent policy” adopted by the House  during the previous session, citing the release of a public report every two weeks, including the House’s agenda.
 
Regarding the Audit Bureau’s reports of the years 2009-2015, which lawmakers have recently discussed, the speaker indicated that the House had unanimously referred three cases to the attorney general, while the rest of suspicious files were forwarded to the Integrity and Anti-Corruption Commission.
 
“This step is considered a quantum leap in the administrative and financial reform since it holds all officials responsible for the use of public money,” Tarawneh noted.
 
He added that the Lower House held 54 meetings dedicated to legislation and 10 to oversight.
 
Lawmakers enacted 26 laws during the ordinary session, held 389 committee meetings, and sent 824 queries to the government, 644 of which were responded to. 
 
The figure differed slightly from those provided by the government. In a recent interview with The Jordan Times published on Sunday, Minister of Political and Parliamentary Affairs Musa Maaytah, published on Sunday, he said oversight meetings witnessed over 800 queries from MPs to the government, 679 of which were answered.  
 
Legislators also presented 118 memoranda, 58 of which were responded to, Tarawneh added. 
 
When meeting with foreign diplomats and visiting officials, the speaker noted, lawmakers “underlined the challenges facing the Kingdom especially when it came to the burdens of the Syrian refugee crisis…”.
 
The speaker also highlighted measures taken by the House to reduce its expenses including a plan in the making to use solar energy in all its facilities and the electronisation of work schedule. 
 
Answering a question from The Jordan Times regarding the absence of a concrete discussion of the Israeli gas deal, Tarawneh said: “The issue was not absent and we are not avoiding responsibility. There was a memorandum presented to the government, the deal was presented to the Energy Committee, and it will be discussed in the extraordinary session.”
 
Regarding the starting date of the extraordinary session, the House speaker stated: “I met with His Majesty and pointed out the huge amount of draft laws and bills presented to the House committees. The House needs to study these drafts thoroughly, but the starting date of the session remains in the hands of His Majesty.”   
 
On a second question on the Pricing Committee set up by lawmakers to follow up on the government’s prices policies, the House speaker responded: “The committee is there to follow up on the price hikes and the Lower House has had a huge impact, keeping the prices of 38 essential commodities untouched.”
 
On the sidelines of the conference, Head of the Energy and Mineral Resources Committee MP Ali Khalaileh stated: “The government is the one responsible for prices, and we always express our dissatisfaction with price surges. We welcome any lowering of prices because we represent the people.”
 

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