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French Version

Capping government spending is a must, Minister says

Public expenditure makes up 84 percent of the Kingdom's fiscal budget. The remaining 16 percent goes to investment expenditure.

Public expenditure makes up 84 percent of the Kingdom's fiscal budget. The remaining 16 percent goes to investment expenditure. Minister of Administrative Development Mohammed Thuniebat noted the government owns 14,000 vehicles which cost the government more than JD 60 million annually. This is in addition to the thousands of other automobiles that work under the official blue plate. "We need to cut public expenses by half to raise benefits from public investments," Thuneibat said last week in a workshop at the Strategic Studies Center of the University of Jordan.
He added the government need only have 2000 vehicles for its operations. If this was the case, then it would sharply reduce its vehicle expenses to JD 13 million. "The same can be said if the government decides to double the number to 4000 cars. This will reduce expenses by JD 35 million," he explained.

Public expenditure also includes cost of travel and activities made by senior cabinet officials both locally and abroad. Thuneibat pointed out costs on official travel are high and should be reduced by half or even more. He said there are many proposals in hand to better control these expenses.

"One such proposal calls for halving the number of official delegations, while another suggestion is the appointment of Jordanian ambassadors already placed around the world to be sent as representatives to attend international meetings," he added. This, Thuneibat said, would reduce travel expenditures by around JD 1.5 million annually. The minister also highlighted the urgency to reduce annual public office supplies.

He noted public departments is used to replacing their furniture with foreign-made products thus increasing office supply expenditures by more than JD 13 million each year. "Public departments also need to watch their annual expenses in water and electricity consumption. Such costs exhaust more than JD 12 million from the budget." Thuneibat said the government needs to promote the idea of recycling thousands of tons of paper, an action that would save more than JD 2.5 million each year.

Mounting telephone bills are also an alarming public expense. Thuneibat said the government pays more than JD 8 million each year in telephone bills. He pointed out the government has already made the decision to limit the use of international calls to only cabinet ministers while other officials will need permission.

Thuneibat warned use of mobile phones during work hours also cost the government more than JD 5 million a year. According to him, the government decided to only pay cellular bills less than JD 40. "If, for instance, a mobile bill is JD 50, the government will only pay JD 40, leaving the rest, JD10, to be paid by the user."


Amman,03December2001
The Star redaction
The Star


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