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Jordan: Debating Economic Policies and the Road to Reform

The state of Jordan's economy, specifically discussing economic policies since 1989 and the national debt, were the highlight of the 7iber #HashtagDebates. Held at Makan House in Amman, the conversation hosted prominent Jordanian economists Ibrahim Saif and Yusuf Mansur, and was streamed with aramram.com for an online audience. The 7iber #HashtagDebates are part of a vital and ongoing conversation on reforms in Jordan.

Here's a summary of the conversation from Twitter:

Mahmoudhomsi notes:

Awesome from the beginning no bullshit Ibrahim Saif says we are in the same situation as 89! (The 1989 economic crisis in Jordan)

Linashannak adds:

Dr Saif: if the state seeks to impose taxes, then it should be held accountable.

And hazem continues:

@ymansur: Since 1990, public sector employment has been increasing at about 6% a year

tarawnah reports:

Seems government spends more on employee salaries than paying down the debt. What a vicious circle. @ymansur

hazem tweets:

@ymansur: 70% of govt expenditures go to salaries. Capital expenditures rely primarily on foreign aid.

and tarawnah continues:

We are one of the few countries where sales tax is higher than income tax. @ymansur

rimasaifi quotes Dr Saif saying:

Dr Saif: in order to pay back debt, state tends to reduce expenditures on education & health

hazem adds:

The 800-pound guerrilla: Defense & security expenditures – higher than exp on education, health & infrastructure combined.

And tarawnah continues:

@Ibrasaif touching on the lack of transparency & ability for parliament to discuss expenditure on security apparatus.

hazem adds:

@ibrasaif: Private sector also partly to blame. Much of that sector has gotten used to relying on govt ‘grants’.

Meanwhile, Ayman Rashdan asks:

why do we want to the government do everything for us while we sit back and wait, the private sector is more to blame

And hazem quotes Mansur:

@ymansur talks about the “superman model”, in which we put more trust in individuals rather than institutions.

Back to Saif, tarawnah quotes:

If you want to see an economically competitive #JO, you need an educational system that yields capable people – @Ibrasaif

And tallouza asks:

Is there any danger on the Jordanian dinar…devaluation in particular?

Yusuf Mansur expressed his confidence in the Jordanian Dinar, pointing to his recent analysis posted at UrdunMubdi3, “Nowadays, the dinar could not be safer.”

On the issue of corruption which has erupted over the recent months in Jordan, @ymansur shared:

lina18

هناك مبالغة في الحديث عن الفساد ولكنها مبالغة مشروعة بسبب غياب المعلومة الدقيقة
There is exaggeration when speaking of corruption, but this exaggeration is inevitable in the absence of accurate information.

Lina18

@Ibrasaif we don't want to wait till there's an imminent threat

tarawnah

We criticize because we want reform & a better situation. We need to start accepting it as being good for the country said @ymansur

May 25th, is Jordan's Independence Day, and 7iber's fourth anniversary. The #HashtagDebates ended with an invite from Naseem Tarawnah, one of the 7iber founders:

Wrapping up the #HashtagDebates for the night. For those of you here, stick around for some cake to celebrate our 4th anniversary :) #JO

yshomali concludes the event with a birthday wish:

Also Happy Birthday @7iber and thanks for organizing a great discussion today #hashtagdebates.

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