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Jordanian Labor Watch calls for addressing gaps in the social protection system to promote social justice in Jordan

The Jordanian Labor Watch has called on the government to address the gaps in the social protection system in a way that ensures the promotion of social justice, which has significantly declined over the past decades.

He said that government policies governing social protection are based on providing very low incomes for the poor and do not work to prevent more citizens from falling into poverty, so we are constantly witnessing an increase in poverty rates, which, according to the government, have reached nearly 24%.

This came in a statement issued by the Jordanian Labor Watch, which is affiliated with the Phoenix Center for Economic and Information Studies, on Tuesday, on the occasion of World Social Justice Day, which falls on February 20 of each year.

The Jordanian Labor Watch explained that the manifestations of poor social justice in Jordan are numerous, and access to resources that enable all members of society to live in dignity is declining year after year.

High unemployment rates, especially among youth, high poverty rates, low wage levels, high price levels of various goods and services, ineffective labor policies in general and employment in particular, poor quality of education and health care, and the fragility and lack of coverage of the social protection system are clear evidence of the weakness of social justice in Jordan.

In the statement, the Jordanian Labor Watch warned that the weak indicators of social justice and the worsening manifestations of social inequality and economic inequality have resulted from a number of economic and social policies, including the imposition of an unfair tax system where indirect tax revenues (general sales tax, withholding taxes, and customs duties) constitute nearly three-quarters of total tax revenues and do not discriminate between the poor and the rich.

This has contributed significantly to raising price levels and the cost of living compared to other countries where income levels are many times higher than in Jordan, he said.

He pointed out that the income tax in Jordan is not fully progressive; it is progressive for the middle class only and flat for high-income earners, whether individuals or companies.

The recent government decisions to postpone raising the minimum wage until 2025 and the regressive amendments to the labor and social security laws, especially those that would deprive young people under the age of 30 of some of the insurance provided by the Social Security Law, as well as the failure to develop new insurance tools to ensure that all workers in Jordan are covered by the social security system, will further weaken social justice in Jordan, the Jordanian Labor Watch stressed.

The Jordanian Labor Watch pointed out that the government continues to insist on implementing such policies and warned that their continued implementation will weaken citizens’ enjoyment of their economic and social rights, threaten economic, social, and political stability, weaken the chances of achieving sustainable economic growth rates capable of generating decent jobs, which is the main goal of the economic modernization vision, and undermine the main pillars and objectives of the national social protection strategy approved by the government in 2019.

The Jordanian Labor Watch emphasized that social justice is the main entry point to enable people to enjoy their basic human rights guaranteed by various humanitarian laws and the international human rights system and to achieve sustainable development goals. It also constitutes an essential tool to strengthen various economic sectors and achieve inclusive economic growth.

The Jordanian Labor Watch called on the government to reconsider all its economic and social policies and move towards investing in social protections in all its dimensions, increasing the effectiveness of spending on education, health care, and employment, reviewing tax policies to be fairer by reducing the general sales tax, and imposing the principle of progressivity on income tax on individuals and companies, in addition to increasing wage levels to boost domestic demand, which is one of the main drivers of economic growth.

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