Jordan to launch nationwide dialogue over controversial income tax bill
AMMAN, June 3 (Xinhua) — A Jordanian official said on Sunday that a nationwide dialogue will be launched to reach a consensus on the controversial income tax bill.
“The dialogue will include all segments of the society including professional associations and stakeholders from all segments of society,” the official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
Earlier in the day, Jordanian Minister of Finance Omar Malhas told Xinhua that the bill was necessary to boost fiscal reforms and enhance fiscal stability in Jordan.
The law will help improve Jordan’s credit rating and reduce its public debt, which represented about 95.3 percent of the GDP by the end of 2017, he said.
Meanwhile, the Council of Professional Associations in Jordan decided to hold a sit-in on Wednesday in protest of the law.
At a meeting with heads of associations on Saturday, Prime Minister Hani Mulki said it was difficult to withdraw the law, which is a fiscal reform required by a 700-million-U.S.-dollar extended fund facility established between Jordan and the International Monetary Fund in 2016.
Nationwide protests took place over the weekend across Jordan, where protesters demanded the resignation of Mulki and dissolution of the Lower House.
The bill mainly aims to improve tax collection, curb tax evasion and boost tax revenues, which are expected to increase by 300 million Jordanian dinars (423 million dollars) annually.
In addition, the proportion of income taxpayers in Jordan is expected to rise from 4.5 percent to 10 percent once the bill is enacted.
The legislation has been resisted by multiple sectors, including professional associations and investors.