Jordan: PM steps down amid protests

Prime Minister Hani al-Mulki has resigned after submitting to five days of nationwide protests against the tax hikes and other austerity measures. The Prime Minister has assumed office in 2017 and had met King Abdullah II before tendering his resignation. The education minister Omar al-Razzaz has been named as the interim PM.

Strikes had begun last week when thousands of protestors gathered on the streets of the capital city of Amman and even outside the office of the Prime Minister. The public is still not satisfied as the general voices state that the new taxes are unbearable and the resignation is merely a tool to manipulate the masses. The protestors demand change in rules expressing their inability to pay the taxes. King Abdullah has issued a message of support in favour of the protestors. He said, “ What I have seen over the past few days makes me happy and that I am honoured to be a Jordanian”.

The government of Jordan had last month introduced an income tax bill which was directed at stretching the tax base and further increasing the tax brackets in addition to punishing the people who evade taxes. The Tax Reform Bill was actually pushed by IMF and aimed at considerably bringing down the public debt from 96% to 77% of the GDP by 2021. MPs and many trade unions across the nation strongly rejected the bill.

The Royal Hashemite Court issued a statement asked the government to lead a comprehensive, rational dialogue which will also be in line with a national consensus and not result in a general public fatigue. The Bill should seek to improve the efficiency of tax evasion.

People have refused to carry the load of the nation’s economic struggles amid growing unemployment and inflation.


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