Prime Minister Dr Hani Mulqi admits that inputs into the public sector do not suffice the sustenance of the middle class; their salaries —according to the premier— are not enough to cover expenses.
In this regard, Dr Mulqi has a dream; to better this segment’s situation. But this dream contradicts with the givens and figures of reality, which infer there being no capacity to realise that dream, as well as other dreams and aspirations of the premier.
Because the public sector has been growing, unleashed, without constraints, up to its current critical scale and size, to say the least. The whole image, the situation itself, does not hold the premise to better pays for the sector; to attain dreams.
Romanticising may lead one to thinking about increasing pays, but the question however remains: can the Treasury meet these dreams, already weighed with enormous debts accumulating for years? Given the difficult economic situation, in light of the continued economic slowdown, can the Treasury really put in to increase wages? Already burdened with a monthly sum of JOD400 million; can more be incurred? Since the restructuring, some years back, the Treasury has been incurring an annual cost of JOD300 million, instead of the estimated JOD80 million back then when the restructures were first proposed.
The size of the public sector, its growth, chunking around 42 per cent of Jordan’s GDP, by some estimates; and up to 65 per cent, according to others, are not healthy indicators, at all!
Understandably, public sector inflation would certainly hold the Premier’s dream down. On the other hand, the government, no government, for that matter, has not the luxury of increasing pay, in spite of the deep realisation of financial shortcomings when it comes to public employees. Come to think about it, corruption in instatements and employment may have been one of the primary drivers of this inflation and its outcomes.
Evaluating the problem is important that state institutions may realise the scale of suffering endured by public servants, due to insufficient income. Public sector employment, historically, has been a sustaining element in the retention of the middle class. But shifts in the economy has rendered many of this particular segment unable to hold their slippery grounds unto poverty.
More so, the standing situation has further more catastrophic effects, manifesting in the regression, and sometimes absence, of loyalty and integrity; petty corruption and bribery have become evidently present in the public sector.
Nonetheless, despite all this negativity; in spite of all the weight incurred to the economy from the overly grown public sector, and its low pay, still; many Jordanians dream, no; they insist, on finding a way into the public sector! This is an indicator to a massive disruption and imbalance necessitating reformation!
It is best for the Premier to adapt his dreams to applicability. Dr Mulqi may begin, for example, and as a vital step, with convincing Jordanians to work in the private sector, in line with the government’s efforts to build youth capacities. As for the public sector, solutions to its predicaments need to be temporarily put off, for now; and any resolution to any public sector issue is most probably unattainable in the absence of a strong private sector, capable of filling the public sector’s void in regards to employment.
Realising dreams requires more than just wishful thinking.