Jordan to scrap Ministry of Labour

Six other ministries to be merged in a public sector overhaul, authorities say

Jordan's King Abdullah (C) with members of the country's military. AFP
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Jordan's Ministry of Labour will be scrapped and six other ministries merged into three over the next two years as part of a plan to overhaul the public sector, authorities said on Sunday.

Most of Jordan's $9 billion government revenue each year is spent on salaries for public sector employees and the security forces. The country is dependent on foreign aid, with public debt accounting for 90 per cent of the economy and unemployment officially at a record high of around 23 per cent.

“The mergers will occur without touching workers' rights or laying them off,” said Prime Minister Bisher Al Khasawneh.

He said other measures would be taken to “modernise” the public sector but he did not say how job losses would be avoided.

According to the plan, the Ministry of Labour will be scrapped and issuing work permits for foreign workers will become the domain of the Interior Ministry. The Ministry of Education and Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research will be merged into one.

The Ministry of Culture will be merged with the Ministry of Youth and the Ministry of Transport with the Ministry of Public Works and Housing.

According to the latest official data from 2015, about a third of Jordan's 1.35 million employed people work for the government. The figure excludes agriculture and the security forces.

King Abdullah II said that the plan would improve government services.

The official news agency quoted the king as saying that overhauling the public sector “is necessary for the success of the other tracks, particularly the economic one”.

The authorities last month unveiled a plan to improve the Jordanian economy, which has been mostly stagnant for the last 12 years.

Updated: July 31, 2022, 8:38 PM