Jordan PM hails trade sector’s contributions to sustain vital services amid pandemic

Government is currently seeking to increase capital expenditure to stimulate economic growth until reaching a state of self-sufficiency

  

AMMAN - Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Bisher Al Khasawneh on Sunday lauded the “evident” national contribution of trade and service-providing sectors amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

Goods, basic commodities and services continued flowing to the local market and supporting the Kingdom’s strategic supply, Khasawneh said, adding that “thanks to God and the efforts of the people, none of the stores were understocked or experienced empty shelves”, Petra reported.

During a visit to the Jordan Chamber of Commerce on Sunday, the prime minister noted that the government regards the trade sector a vital national partner, underlining the sector’s 54.5 per cent contribution to Jordan’s GDP and its capacity to employ two-thirds of the Jordanian labour force through its varied sub-sectors such as transportation, stocking and communication.

The premier also said that the government is currently seeking to increase capital expenditure to stimulate economic growth until reaching a state of self-sufficiency.

During the meeting, attended by a number of ministers, Khasawneh noted that the government is currently partnering with the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and relevant public and private entities to devise a national strategy concerning food security.

The prime minister also listened to the concerns and demands of the sector’s representatives, most notably reverting to regular work, noting that the current health measures are to remain in effect until December 31, 2020, after which a set of procedures related to curfew hours, working on Friday and reopening hard-hit entities would be announced.

Nael Kabariti, chairman of the Board of Jordan Chamber of Commerce, said that during the current circumstances, tradespersons are facing challenges due to the implementation of defence orders and lack of liquidity, calling for protecting employers, reducing interest rates and loosening insurance requirements.

Kabariti also noted that taxes have accumulated, burdening the private sector, highlighting the possibility of collecting taxes in two stages: Half of taxes to be collected during the stage of importing, and the rest to be collected after the final selling.

The chairman called for the reopening of border crossings with neighbouring countries, taking into account the facilitation of the movement of cargo trucks and reducing restraints on transit systems.

Kabariti demanded making electricity costs equal between the trade and industrial sectors and reconsidering rent costs.

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