Jordanians strike over draft income tax law Jordanians strike over draft income tax law

Jordanians strike over draft income tax law
12 Jun 2018

Jordanian unions have gone on strike in protest at a draft income tax law, despite efforts by King Abdullah to defuse public anger by replacing the Prime Minister. 

King Abdullah has now appointed former World Bank economist Omar al-Razzaz to head a new government. He said the new cabinet must review the entire tax system and immediately start discussions over a draft income tax law, which the government sent to Parliament last month. The King has called for political parties, unions and civil society groups to take part in the talks, according to Haaretz.

But the move did not stop hundreds of people from rallying. "We don't want a change of names, we want a change in policy," one banner read. "Bring back bread subsidies," said another.

Resentment has been building following a steep rise in the general sales tax and an end to bread subsidies earlier this year under an International Monetary Fund-driven plan to lower the country’s US$37 billion debt. The government has said it needs more money to fund public services and argued that the reforms would reduce social disparities by placing a heavier burden on high earners.

The King has now indicated that the government could shelve the new tax law and slow the pace of price rises. He said the price hikes had acted as a burden to Jordanians and called for services to improve, blaming regional instability for hampering the sluggish economy.

 Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

Jordanian unions have gone on strike in protest at a draft income tax law, despite efforts by King Abdullah to defuse public anger by replacing the Prime Minister. 

King Abdullah has now appointed former World Bank economist Omar al-Razzaz to head a new government. He said the new cabinet must review the entire tax system and immediately start discussions over a draft income tax law, which the government sent to Parliament last month. The King has called for political parties, unions and civil society groups to take part in the talks, according to Haaretz.

But the move did not stop hundreds of people from rallying. "We don't want a change of names, we want a change in policy," one banner read. "Bring back bread subsidies," said another.

Resentment has been building following a steep rise in the general sales tax and an end to bread subsidies earlier this year under an International Monetary Fund-driven plan to lower the country’s US$37 billion debt. The government has said it needs more money to fund public services and argued that the reforms would reduce social disparities by placing a heavier burden on high earners.

The King has now indicated that the government could shelve the new tax law and slow the pace of price rises. He said the price hikes had acted as a burden to Jordanians and called for services to improve, blaming regional instability for hampering the sluggish economy.

 Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

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