The Jordanian government's announcement of an eight-day holiday commencing on December 25 for Christmas, Eid Al-Fitr and the New Year has drawn protests from businesses in Amman and Zarqa, who say the long holiday would cause very heavy losses. The Amman Chamber of Industry sent a cable to Prime Minister Ali Abul Ragheb protesting the lengthy holiday, saying that it would paralyze the national economy.
Chamber President Othman Bdeir said the industrial sector protested because the holiday would have an adverse impact on industry. He added that each day of holiday costs local industries at least a million dinars, while the phosphate, potash and fertilizer sectors would sustain millions of dinars in losses for the country. Bdeir said the chamber also protested because its views were not sought before the decision on the holiday was taken.
Responding to the protests, Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs Mohammad Halaiqa said the holiday affects government offices, while private sector businesses are not necessarily restricted by it. In addition, he said, a great deal of fuel for transport and heating would be saved during the holiday.
The Zarqa Chamber of Industry also protested the holiday in a memorandum to the prime minister, saying that it would disrupt production and complicate stocktaking procedures which are done before the year closes. It said businesses would incur additional expenses for paying the workers overtime for extra hours they would be required to work to make up for the loss of time due to the holiday. — ( Jordan Times )
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