World Economy

Jordan Needs Genuine Partnership With Private Sector

Jordan Needs Genuine Partnership With Private SectorJordan Needs Genuine Partnership With Private Sector

Experts in Jordan named unemployment as the biggest challenge the new government of Hani Mulki has to address.

They said that given the current state of the economy and regional instability, the new government has to rise up and take immediate and medium-term “out-of-the-box measures” in crucial areas such as investment, exports and partnership with the private sector, which they said must be “genuine”, Albawaba reported.  

According to official data, unemployment rate reached 14.6% in the first quarter of this year, which is the highest in eight years.

Economist Omar Razzaz, in an interview with The Jordan Times, said that  joblessness is the biggest problem facing the kingdom, adding that it can be solved only by attracting large investments by Jordanian, Arab and foreign investors.

To stimulate investment, Razzaz said, the government has to address bureaucratic measures as regulations and laws cannot alone boost investors’ confidence if red tape remains untouched.

Razzaz said unemployment is becoming worse and needs immediate remedy, indicating that the kingdom needs a national program to employ and provide training to jobseekers and students who are still studying.

He said that there are certain sectors that could be developed to offer more job opportunities such as dry-land farming, trash recycling and kindergartens.

Only 3% of children in Jordan go to pre-school educational facilities, he said, adding the sector is large enough to generate thousands of jobs to female jobseekers and encourage more women to join the labor market as many of them refrain from accepting jobs just to stay with children at home.

  $35b Public Debt

Another economist, Abdul Rahim Biqaai, a former deputy and municipal planner, agreed with Razzaz that unemployment is the main concern for Jordan.

“We need automobile, fertilizer and mineral companies to open businesses in the country,” he said.

Biqaai, who headed the outgoing financial and economic committee, said unemployment is a bigger problem than the widening indebtedness of the country. Public debt is currently around JD25 billion ($35 billion), nearly 92% of the gross domestic product.

Economist Adli Kandah, director general of the Association of Banks in Jordan, said the government has to target four categories of investors to reduce unemployment: local, Jordanian expatriates, Arabs and foreigners, particularly Chinese.

“Europeans who pledged to help Jordan should have investments here. We need to see the French example in the kingdom copied by more countries like Italy, the UK and Germany.”

France is the largest non-Arab investor in Jordan with around 20 blue-chip companies operating in various fields and employing over 4,000 Jordanians.  Fathi Jaghbir, vice chairman of the Amman Chamber of Industry, said the new government should embrace a “real” partnership with the private sector.