Political parties urged to adopt realistic economic programmes

Jordan Times Dec 01,2015

AMMAN — The interconnectedness between economics and politics should encourage political parties to adopt "efficient" economic programmes to address local challenges, economists said Tuesday.

In a session on the role of political parties in shaping economic policies, Jordan Ahli Bank Chairman Omar Razzaz said political parties should agree on an economic model to adopt, economic methodologies to follow and means for transforming slogans into programmes.

There is no "predetermined magical formula" to guarantee that, he said at the event, organised by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Liberty, but consensus among political parties could result in further engagement in economic policy making.

While the role of politicians could be limited in setting fiscal and monetary policies, a matter that requires specialised economists, politicians can play a larger role in shaping policies related to investments, employment, human resources and social security, Razzaz noted.

He highlighted an urgent need to maximise efforts to develop systematic means for employing young people, describing youth unemployment as a "ticking bomb" that must be addressed through sustainable policies.

MP Kheirallah Abu Saalik, who chaired the Lower House Economy and Investment Committee over the past two years, agreed, citing some 100,000 new Jordanian job seekers annually, while the government only hires around 8,000.

The rest must find opportunities in the private sector, he said, calling for facilitating procedures for starting businesses to encourage more investment projects that are capable of accommodating this "high" number of job seekers.

Razzaz noted that the time has come for Jordanians to realise that the main actor in economy today is the private sector, while the role of government should be only regulatory.

Furthermore, he cited the challenge of developing a culture of productivity among young people in order to transform the Jordanian economy from a consumer-based to a productive one.

Presenting reasonable economic programmes could enhance public trust in political parties and increase political participation, Abu Saalik told The Jordan Times, noting that parties' election campaigns should include detailed and realistic programmes.

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