King tasks Razzaz with forming new government (letter of designation)

His Majesty King Abdullah on Tuesday entrusted Omar Razzaz with forming a new government, succeeding that of Hani Mulki, who resigned on Monday.

Following is the full text of the letter of designation: In the Name of God, the Most Merciful, the Compassionate, Your Excellency Dr Omar Razzaz, I am pleased to convey to you a greeting imbued with a high sense of pride in Jordanians’ exemplary display of active, responsible citizenship over the past few days, and in the dedicated patriotism of security agencies. I am full of hope that Jordan’s united family will overcome the difficulties ahead and advance into a better present and a brighter future.

I have known you as a patriotic man of the people, who enjoys a close connection with Jordanian youth, and a visionary who has left a positive mark on every public position you assumed in a number of leading national institutions. You have accumulated deep national and international experience that would, with the help of God and his blessings, aid you in undertaking this immense national responsibility before you.

Having accepted the resignation of Dr Hani Mulki’s Cabinet, we entrust you with forming a new government that upholds its tremendous national responsibilities in this critical phase and builds on reform and development efforts.

I direct you, as you embark on this mission, to launch a comprehensive national awakening that empowers Jordanians to harness their energies and pursue their dreams; and meets their needs through quality services, fair taxation, an agile, efficient government team, and a social safety net that protects the vulnerable. As you embark on achieving that, the following priorities and pillars will guide you in your duties and outreach to Jordanians: The main challenge standing in the way of young Jordanians as they pursue their dreams and ambitions is economic slowdown and the resulting drop in job opportunities. Therefore, your government must give priority to stimulating and unleashing Jordan’s economic capabilities, so that it regains its potential to grow, compete, and generate jobs.

There are, undoubtedly, key issues impeding our economy’s competitiveness and limiting its potential, foremost of which are rising operational costs and restrictive bureaucratic measures. While addressing these impediments under the current fiscal situation will be extremely challenging, your government must seek creative solutions within a well-planned programme.

The government must immediately launch a dialogue, in coordination with Parliament and with the participation of political parties, syndicates, and various civil society institutions to deliver the draft income tax law, which is a key socio-economic legislation. Formulating the income tax bill is the entry point into a new socio-economic approach, the crux of which must be achieving growth and ensuring justice.

As such, the government must undertake a comprehensive review of the tax system and tax burden, with a view to limiting indirect and regressive consumption taxes that do not differentiate between the rich and the poor; and with the aim of delineating the relationship between citizens and the state through a clear social contract that identifies rights and duties.

The pressure Jordan is facing must be an incentive to enhance the quality of services, rather than be an excuse for their decline. Imposing taxes and providing quality services go hand in hand. I will not accept anything less than excellent services from our institutions. Our education sector must provide a bright future for our children in a safe learning environment. The healthcare system must respect the dignity of our patients and provide first-rate medical services, of which we have been pioneers. It is unacceptable that our people suffer to reach their universities and places of work due to the absence of proper public transport networks in our governorates. A nation’s progress is measured by how it treats its most vulnerable; therefore, a social safety net must be provided to support our poor.

The government must have administrative reform and enhancing public sector performance as a top priority and a higher national interest. There must be zero tolerance for any underperforming employee or official who impedes investment through bureaucratic measures or slow processing, thus squandering opportunities to generate jobs for our youth and help our economy grow. There should be no hesitation in holding to account officials who do not properly cater to the needs of service recipients at various state institutions, or do not utilise public funds with a sense of responsibility and in good conscience. In the same vein, the government must expedite implementation of the e-government project to enhance the level of service, reduce bureaucracy, and control public spending.

Over the past years, Jordan has carried a heavy burden that would overwhelm the largest and most powerful of countries. The current difficult economic conditions are the result of accumulating pressures, the majority of which are external due to regional instability. They mainly include the rise in energy costs caused by the disruption of gas supplies from Egypt, the sharp drop in exports as a result of border closures in neighbouring countries dealing with security challenges, and the financial cost of security measures required to safeguard every inch of this homeland.

The Jordan Armed Forces-Arab Army, and all of Jordan’s security agencies continue to prove, time and again, to be the guardians of Jordan’s progress and achievement. They stand tall in the face of all enemies, and they have earned the respect and gratitude of us all. All state institutions are committed to supporting and empowering them to continue their exemplary performance.

The government is also required to continue political reform and build on what has been achieved in previous years. A review of legislation governing political life is needed to bolster the role of political parties and enable them to have a more effective presence at the House of Representatives. Governorate and Municipal Councils must also be supported and empowered to uphold their duties for the benefit of citizens across Jordan.

Dialogue, outreach, and consensus-building are the key tools for government’s openness and engagement with other powers and with citizens. The government must listen to citizens and explain, transparently and objectively, the profound impact of the difficult economic conditions we have experienced and continue to experience; for understanding current conditions is vital to developing the necessary measures and laws to overcome these difficult economic times.

Your Excellency, What has been outlined thus far are components of the vision needed to deal swiftly and effectively with pressing challenges and overcome the current difficult situation. They complement many directives I have underscored on several occasions and at various national forums, in pursuit of prosperity and progress for our nation and in the service of our citizens.

Recognising your experience and vision, and your active, sincere engagement with citizens, we await your nominations for the ministerial team, after you conduct the necessary consultations to select efficient, experienced, and responsible individuals who can shoulder the responsibility with you at this critical national phase. You will have my full support.

May God grant you success and help you shoulder your responsibility and serve our faithful people and dear country, so that Jordan remains a pillar of support for its Arab and Islamic Ummah.

Source: Jordan News Agency