Jordan's prime minister Fayez Tarawneh
Amman – Osama al-Rantissi
Jordan's prime minister Fayez Tarawneh on Sunday reiterated that his cabinet's major mandate was to pave the way for holding parliamentary elections this year in line with King Abdullah II's reform plan.
Presenting MPs with his government's policy statement, on the basis of which he requested a vote of confidence, Tarawneh underlined that his government was "fully aware of its transitional nature" and of the critical stage during which it was formed and is "wholeheartedly" committed to achieving its mandate in line with the 10 guidelines listed in the Letter of Designation, vowing full cooperation and coordination with the Lower House.
"A government's importance is not measured in its life span but in the tasks and missions it achieves," the premier said.
Tarawneh also noted that his government was committed to maintaining the independence of a free and fair judiciary.
In addition, the premier vowed to pursue an anti-corruption campaign by offering assistance to the state's monitoring agencies.
Describing economic reform as a major priority, Tarawneh also emphasised that the government had no other choice but to take measures to address the current economic situation and build up a sustainable approach through which economic growth rates can be pushed up and development gains evenly distributed.
"The state has witnessed over the past years unjustified spending in several fields with the well-to-do families residing in the country enjoying subsidies that should be directed in principle to the low-and medium-income families," the primer told lawmakers, adding that this, coupled with slow economic growth and declining investment flows brought about by the regional and international developments, have caused “unprecedented” deficit in the state's budget and considerable increase in poverty and unemployment levels.
Faced with such a "difficult economic situation," it has become obligatory to move ahead with an economic and financial reform programme, Tarawneh said, adding that the government sees in embarking on an immediate financial reform targeting the state budget as a major priority for the current stage.
The premier noted that adopting a set of "immediate" measures aiming at increasing public revenues and cutting down public spending is the first remedial step to achieving a financial reform.
"The government is conducting a thorough study to lower the subsidy on electricity tariffs, excluding from that low-and medium income families and small industries, as well as to decrease the government support of fuel derivatives except for diesel, kerosene, cooking gas and heavy fuel," the premier said.
Tarawneh added that putting state finances back on track will enhance Jordan's reliability both internally and externally and encourage local and foreign investors in joint enterprises to implement development projects.
The PM also noted that the government will continue offering support to municipalities to help them carry out their development duties, adding that, as a state of law, the government is committed to holding the municipal elections as stipulated in the relevant legislation, taking into considerations time and money factors.
Tarawneh also underlined that the government will safeguard press freedom and offer all forms of help and assistance to public and private news agencies.
On foreign policy, the premier noted that the government will work on preserving Jordan's historic ties with the entire world.
Meanwhile, the Jordanian House of Representatives acknowledged on Sunday the Constitutional Court Act. MPs signed a memorandum demanding the deduction of 30 percent from their salaries for the benefit of the state budget to help reduce the deficit.