King Abdullah on Monday said that he has always stood by his people and will always do, acknowledging the multitude and magnitude of pressures on citizens’ livelihoods.
“Citizens are absolutely right and I would not accept that they suffer. I have learnt from His late Majesty [King Hussein] to stand by my children and brothers the Jordanian citizens,” the King told media leaders at a meeting.
He said he was proud to see protesters (against the income tax draft law and price hikes) exercise their right to express themselves in a civilised manner, “which reflects their keenness on a better future for them”.
“What I have seen during the past few days has made me happy and proud to be Jordanian,” the King said.
He stressed that state agencies should adopt a new approach based on enhancing performance, accountability and transparency, opening the way for new blood and youth with potential to serve their country.
The King said that the challenges facing the country and the difficult situation it is undergoing requires wisdom and responsibility, a Royal Court statement said.
“If we want to proceed ahead as Jordanians, we need to deal with challenges in a novel manner, away from the traditional style.”
King Abdullah cited regional turbulence as a generator of formidable challenges such as the disruption in the Egyptian gas supplies that has cost Jordan JD4 billion, the closure of major regional markets and the high cost of safeguarding the Kingdom’s borders with war-hit neighbours.
“Yet, we have to admit that there has been failure and slackness on the part of some officials regarding decision making. We have dealt with such situations and officials and governments have been sacked because of that,” the King told the journalists.
“Recently, I had to do some of the work of the government. This is not my job; my role is to be the guarantor of the Constitution and to balance between the authorities, each of which has to be up to its responsibilities and officials in these authorities cannot aptly perform their duties should step down and allow others who can to take over”.
He pointed out that he had worked hard towards parliamentary governments, but this goal was not achieved because of poor performance of political parties.
In the same context, His Majesty said that this reality prompted the activation of the parliamentary blocs, “which we hope will work to scale up parliamentary and partisan life”.
The King explained that Jordan has faced an unexpected economic and regional situation, and there is no plan capable of dealing effectively and quickly with this challenge, noting that Jordan stands today at a crossroad, either to find a way out of the crisis and provide a decent life for our people or to take a leap in the dark, “but we must know where we are going”.
King Abdullah said that international aid to Jordan has declined despite the Kingdom’s burden of hosting Syrian refugees. “The world has not fully shouldered its responsibilities,” he said.
Regarding the income tax draft law, His Majesty said that the bill is controversial and a dialogue must be launched to discuss it, as all countries in the world have faced and are still facing such a challenge.
King Abdullah stressed that the government had a great responsibility to clarify the draft law for Jordanians, but there was a failure to communicate it to the public.
He emphasised that when citizens pay the tax, they should feel that this tax will contribute to the improvement of services provided to them in education, health, transport and outher fields.
He added that the protection of the low-income and middle class and investment promotion should be top priorities of officials, stressing that constructive and transparent dialogue is important because every Jordanian has a voice that must be heard.
King Abdullah underlined that Jordan has completed most of the measures and financial reforms required by the programme coordinated with the IMF, which will enable the Kingdom to obtain economic assistance from donor countries and to continue implementing development programmes.
His Majesty expressed his appreciation of the security services for the civilised manner with which they dealt with protesters across the Kingdom, pointing out that the cordial relationship between citizens and the security services constitutes a main feature of the Jordanian model.
The meeting was attended by Chief of the Royal Court Fayez Tarawneh, Adviser to King Abdullah and Director of the King’s office Manar Dabbas, and Adviser for Economic Affairs Mohammad Eses.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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