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King: Fiscal reform must protect middle class, low-income people.


Thursday, October 05, 2017

Amman, (Petra) -- His Majesty King Abdullah II on Wednesday said that comprehensive fiscal and economic reform must protect the middle class and low-income people, emphasizing that citizens shouldn't bear the burden of tax-exemptions and subsidies which 4 million non-Jordanians benefit from.

His Majesty told a meeting with the Senate president, members of permanent office and heads of committees, that it is no longer possible for the Jordanian citizens to pay the cost of hosting refugees, adding that no country can afford to pay almost 25 per cent of its national budget to host refugees.

"We are fully aware of the magnitude of the challenges facing us in the coming stage, but we must confront them in order to ensure that the coming years will be better and easier for the citizen," His Majesty said.

The King also vowed that there will be no complacency towards tax evasion, indicating that the government will introduce a new tax law imposing stiffer penalties on tax evasion, instead of increasing the burden on citizens.

He said tax evasion is a fundamental issue and must be addressed clearly and effectively by improving collection mechanisms and holding tax evaders accountable, so that the tax burden does not fall on low-income groups.

During the meeting attended by His Royal Highness Crown Prince Al-Hussein bin Abdullah, the King said he hopes that next year be a year of recovery from the repercussions of regional conditions, including the Syrian refugee crisis and the closure of export markets, through the economic stimulus plan and financial reform efforts.

In this context, the King emphasized that the government should devise an action plan to implement the economic stimulus plan and underlined the importance of cooperation between the government and the parliament to endorse legislation related to the plan.

King Abdullah told the senators that he ordered the government to rationalize spending, increase the efficiency of institutional performance and ensure that economic legislation is revisited every now and then.

His Majesty stressed the importance of improving the investment environment and accelerating achievement in various sectors. He called for supporting agricultural programs across the governorates and make full use of the Kingdom's trade and economic advantages.

The King also called for keeping away from rumors and avoid rushing to make judgments through providing clear information, noting that "there is a wide spread of false information and fabricated news."

During the meeting, King Abdullah reviewed the latest developments related to the peace process and expressed the hope that U.S. President Donald Trump's commitment to finding a solution to the Palestinian issue would translate into a plan to be laid out in the short term.

The King pointed out that Jordan and Iraq are working to ensure that trade exchange and movement return to normal, saying the reopening of the Trebil border crossing is a common interest of the two countries.

For his part, President of the Senate Faisal al-Fayez said that Jordan, under the leadership of His Majesty the King, is able to overcome the difficult circumstances, commending His Majesty's efforts at the local and international levels to deal with regional challenges.

Members of the senate's permanent office and heads of committees stressed the importance of the government conducting dialogues with the citizens and informing them about the magnitude of the challenges and actions required to confront them.

They asserted that the poor must be protected and the middle class must be expanded through the implementation of development projects that positively reflect on their living conditions.

They also emphasized that vital sectors, such as tourism, industry, agriculture and construction, should be given priority in government policies.

(Petra)