The brilliant piece of news was announcing that the government was issuing a tender for a rail system that would connect Jordan form the topmost north to Aqaba. Now isn’t that beautiful? You can travel in comfort, no car accidents, no expensive fuel, no heavily taxed vehicle and no rude motorists. You can read a book or write an article, eat, drink, have fun, and really enjoy the amazing landscape of this beautiful country of ours.
Just imagine: if you are into water sports and enjoying the beach, you can leave Irbid, Zarqa or Amman for Aqaba in the morning, arrive un-disheveled, hit the beach, maybe eat at a restaurant, spend some time shopping and come back in comfort. You won’t be damaging the environment and Aqaba will become close to you. Aqaba will be so close, most will not opt to go to neighbouring countries for their weekends; the country will be fully connected and we’ll save hundreds of millions on fuel imports.
Furthermore, if you are from Karak or Maan, you will no longer feel disconnected: you can live in these southern towns and work in Amman, thus getting the best of two worlds: a nice, inexpensive living with a job that pays more. The consequences are beautiful.
The railway will cost close to JD4 billion. So what? It is infrastructure, like highways. It need not be profitable for the government, it simply makes the economy work better and enhance its competitiveness. By the way, one of the factors that lowered Jordan’s ranking last year was the lack of a railway system.
If it costs too much, the government can contribute towards it through a proper public-private partnership scheme. After all, this is the purpose of collecting taxes: making a better now and tomorrow.
The sad or whatever you want to call it story was on the same page. It stated that the government was to impose a 15 per cent tax on cars exported to Iraq. Let’s think about this for a moment. People are complaining of the tax burden; car importers are still suffering from the reimposition of customs on hybrid cars; the Iraqi government isn’t so encouraged to buy cars from Jordan.
How do people think of such policies? Will such a policy not hurt our transport industry? Will it not bankrupt the poor importers in the free zones who make a living by importing cars for the Iraqi market? Will it not shut down some of our shipping industry and the activities at the Aqaba Port, as importers choose to ship the cars through Tartous, Syria, and transit the cars to Iraq to avoid the 15 per cent levy?
The whole car-import activity will be curtailed and people will lose income. This is the terrible story, and it was reported right below the beautiful story.
I really want to give the new ministerial Cabinet a break, but come on! Help us so we can help you. Give us beautiful stories, please.