TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - "We will not submit to the dictates of the IMF (International Monetary Fund)," Parliament Speaker Atef Tarawneh said on Saturday after a meeting with Prime Minister Hani al-Mulki.
Tarawneh noted that over 80 lawmakers of the 130-member assembly wanted the government to withdraw the tax bill.
Earlier in the day, Mulki refused to scrap the controversial bill, which is part of broader austerity measures recommended by the IMF, after a meeting with trade union leaders and lawmakers and stressed that parliament should make the final decision on the issue.
The premier, however, underlined the government’s determination to continue negotiations with the unions.
“Sending the draft law does not mean parliament will agree to it or even agree on its articles. Parliament is its own master,” he said.
Mulki said the IMF had completed its mission in Jordan on Thursday and said the organization hoped the Arab country would conclude the majority of the intended reforms by mid-2019.
On Friday, Jordan's King Abdullah II ordered the government to suspend an increase in fuel and electricity prices hikes set to come into effect that day in the wake of angry protests.
The decree came after thousands of Jordanians staged protests in the capital Amman and other cities late Thursday and early Friday, demanding the "fall of the government" as they blocked roads with cars and burning tires.
The government had decreed hikes of up to 5.5 percent on fuels and a 19-percent hike in electricity prices.
Thousands of Jordanians also staged a strike on Wednesday against an income tax bill that they say will worsen their living standards.
The country has a public debt of some $35 billion, equivalent to around 90 percent of its gross domestic product.
The price hike and steep tax increases, which the government of Mulki introduced earlier in the year as mandated by the IMF, are meant to cut into the debt.
According to official estimates, 18.5 percent of Jordan’s population of 9.5 million is unemployed, while 20 percent are on the brink of poverty.
Source: Press TV