Taking the lead: King Abdullah of Jordan makes economic demands to Parliament
His Majesty King Abdullah on Wednesday directed the government to set up an executive plan with a timetable to stimulate Jordan’s economy and reiterated the country’s calls for a political solution to the Syrian crisis.
Presiding over a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, the King stressed the need to boost foreign investments in Jordan by implementing mega-projects concerned with securing energy and water security, according to a Royal Court statement.
The Monarch also voiced his confidence in a better future for all Jordanians, also underlying the importance of building on achievements and moving ahead with the development and modernisation process, the statement said.
“I am fully aware of Jordanians’ difficult economic conditions and that requires ministers to go to the files and solve citizens’ woes,” the Monarch said.
The King also expressed his thanks to the government for its successful efforts in conducting the August 27 municipal elections, noting that the challenges that arose at the polls will serve as lessons for future elections.
The Monarch called on the government to help the municipal councils provide quality services to citizens and contribute to enhancing local development, the statement added.
King Abdullah also stressed the need to make the necessary amendments to the laws affected by the changes to the Constitution, emphasising the importance of enhancing the supremacy of law to achieve justice among all.
Commenting on the situation in Syria and its effect on the Kingdom, the Monarch said: “I would like to assure our people that there is no need for fear whatsoever. Our stance on Syria is clear. We support a comprehensive political solution to the Syrian crisis and Jordan has all the capabilities to defend its security and interests in the face of any consequences.”
The King also listened to a briefing presented by Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour on the government’s recent achievements and its future plans, the statement said.
Ensour stressed that the King’s focus on fieldwork encourages the government to exert its utmost efforts to address difficulties and challenges facing citizens.
He also said that, upon His Majesty’s directives, the government has placed governorates’ development among its top priorities to be achieved through the implementation of capital projects to decrease poverty and unemployment.
Ensour also said that the development process should begin from governorates whose citizens are to set their development priorities, adding that a ministerial team has already begun visiting governorates and will continue meetings with community leaders and civil society organisations for a month over developmental needs in their respective areas.
Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Amin Mahmoud said that the ministry is preparing a new strategy and executive plans centred primarily around improving technical education needed in the local and Arab market, adding that the number of students enrolled in technical colleges stands at around 8 to 10 per cent.
Minister of Industry, Trade and Supply Hatem Halawani said that a set of economic laws have been drafted in cooperation with the private sector, including the Investment Promotion Law under which investments that benefited from exemptions increased by 43 per cent in the first half of this year, compared to the same period in 2012.
Minister of Water and Irrigation Hazem Nasser said that the ministry has managed to provide drinking and irrigation water to citizens and farmers this year with almost no problems despite the huge number of refugees residing in the country.
Ministers of labour and tourism, planning and international cooperation, social development, energy and mineral resources and justice also presented briefings about their ministries’ ongoing projects and future plans during the meeting.
Speaking at a press conference following the King’s Cabinet meeting, Minister of State for Media Affairs and Communications Mohammad Momani said: “The King chaired the Cabinet meeting and listened to presentations from ministers on their achievements in 13 sectors that offer services to the public. He directed the ministers to go to the field and listen to the citizens and interact with their needs.”
Meanwhile, the minister said the government is committed fulfilling the Royal vision on the political reform process, adding that during Wednesday’s meeting, the Cabinet approved the suggested amendments to the State Security Court Law following their approval by the Legislation and Opinion Bureau.
Earlier this month, King Abdullah directed the government to change the law governing the SSC to ensure that trials are in conformity with the Constitution.
“The government, in response to Royal directives, completed the amendments and the new draft will be sent to the Parliament for discussions and to go through the constitutional channels for endorsement,” Momani said, emphasising that this step reflects His Majesty’s keenness to give the reform process renewed momentum.
With regards to the Elections Law, Momani said Minister of Political and Parliamentary Affairs Khaled Kalaldeh has met with several political parties and activists, during which he has exchanged views and idea with political figures on what needs to be done to fulfil the comprehensive reform pledge the government made when it was sworn in.
“In the coming few days, Kalaldeh will engage in meetings with various blocs in the Parliament, within the same context to listen and consult with them over the government’s vision on the reform process,” Momani added