King urges acceleration of development projects
Badia Forces parade before the opening of the second ordinary session of the 14th Parliament on Wednesday (Reuters photo by Ali Jarekji) Following is the official translation of the full text of His Majesty King Abdullah's Speech from the Throne delivered at the opening of the 14th Parliament's second ordinary session on Wednesday:
In the Name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
And prayers and peace be upon our Prophet Mohammad, the Arab, Hashemite and Faithful Prophet.
Peace and God's Mercy and Blessings be upon you.
In the name of God and with His blessings we inaugurate the second session of the 14th Parliament, asking of God the Almighty to help all of us shoulder our responsibility, continue our march, complete the building-up of the modern state and achieve comprehensive development through reform, modernisation, and development, and preparing and enabling the Jordanian individual to actively participate in formulating the present and the future in a manner that is based on a firm belief in Jordan First and Jordan Always, and that will and resolve are stronger than all challenges, and that we all owe it to Jordan to make it the model nation, the example to be followed in the region.
The convening of your honourable assembly today is a consolidation of the democratic approach we have chosen for ourselves, and to which we are committed on our path to a society of freedom, pluralism, justice, equal opportunities and the rule of law.
It is a good occasion for us to review and evaluate our five-year march in which we achieved much of what we aspired to achieve, with God's blessings, and in spite of the unstable conditions in the region. Indicators show a rise in the rate of economic growth and in exports and investment, as well as an invigoration of the stock market, a reduction in debts and an increase in foreign exchange reserves. This assures us that we are on the right track. But still, what is required of us is to intensify the efforts and accelerate the implementation of the plans and programmes which we have designed to achieve the development we aspire to. These plans and programmes stem from our vision for our national interest and from the conscience and aspirations of our people to whose service I have dedicated my life, and they are an embodiment of our free will and not a reaction or a response to conditions beyond this will. Doubting the feasibility of these plans and programmes or their Jordanian identity without offering a practical alternative cannot be categorised except as being acts of outbidding or cover-ups of foreign agendas.
From the first day of my shouldering responsibility, I took it upon myself to be amongst the sons and daughters of our kind and generous people, and to visit them, whenever conditions allow and wherever they are, in order to listen to them directly and to acquaint myself, firsthand, with their conditions, problems, concerns and aspirations, and to carry these in my conscience always.
And I am here to share with you some of what I heard from those good honest people. A party member told me: “We have suffered all through our life from economic recession;” another citizen said: “Poverty and unemployment are a sword threatening our necks;” a third citizen said, “We heard a lot about development, but saw nothing of it.”
From these direct encounters with people, I am convinced that the fruits of what we achieved during these years, although important, have not yet reached all sectors of society, and that citizens have doubts concerning the ability of the state to fulfill promises and implement the plans and programmes about which we are talking. I know that the difficult unstable conditions that engulf the region around us affect our situation negatively, but we should not allow these conditions to be an excuse to justify the negligence or errors that sometimes occur; rather, these conditions should stimulate us to intensify and double our efforts, and to accelerate our achievements, so that we can overcome the negative and future effects of these conditions, and be a stronger supporter of the causes of our nation and brethren, especially in Palestine and Iraq.
We are facing a new phase in the march of reform, modernisation and development, and we have to identify the priorities at this stage and concentrate our efforts on these priorities to complete the qualitative transformation to which we aspire.
My first concern has always been to improve the quality of life of every citizen, in this country. Therefore it is imperative to fight poverty and unemployment, and to implement reform and correctional measures that would produce basic and permanent solutions to these problems, through: Reviewing training and educational programmes, procuring additional funding and new job opportunities, enhancing the individual's respect for work values away from “the shame culture,” giving special attention to the development of governorates, and, improving and upgrading the agriculture sector which provides employment opportunities for many families and individuals.
Improving the standard of living for citizens also requires paying attention to healthcare, which is every citizen's right, male or female. A healthy human being who has no worries concerning his health or that of his children and family is the one who is able to work and produce. The government has already started expanding health insurance coverage to include all citizens with special attention to mother and child programmes.
As for the development of human resources, it is amongst our priorities in the upcoming stage, because Jordan's truest and greatest wealth is the Jordanian human being. And so my government will invest human resources within the context of the comprehensiveness of the knowledge-based economy which includes computerisation, rehabilitation of teachers, improving and developing curricula, and upgrading the standards of research and higher education.
Investment is a key factor in the development process; thus it is imperative to encourage investment and maximise its contribution to development by implementing reform packages that would help attract foreign investment, and encourage Jordanian investors, and promotional campaigns that would introduce the world to our country's available opportunities and capabilities.
As for tourism, mass media and culture, they are priorities that are closely linked with investment; therefore a strategy for each of these sectors should be prepared so that each can support our national economy.
As for administrative reform, we call for profound reformist change in all aspects of administration and government institutions, one that is based on efficiency and accountability and rehabilitating human resources which are the basic component of the administrative process.
As for our judicial body, of which we are proud, it will receive from us all the necessary attention to preserve its independence, and to support it with more qualified personnel who would increase its capability for achievement.
We have called before for the activation of political life and parties, and focused on the importance of the role of youth and the role of women in our political life; we called for a permanent comprehensive national dialogue that would enhance the concept of pluralism and respect for the opinions of others; and this for us is an irreversible priority, that must go hand-in-hand with administrative development, taking into consideration that progress and economic openness contribute to political development.
Here, it must be born in mind that the priority that comes ahead of all is Jordan's security and stability. Without security and stability, development would not be possible, and applying the rule of law to all is what guarantees the realisation of justice and equality. I take this occasion to greet — with love, appreciation and pride — our sons and daughters in our armed and security forces. They are the nation's shield and the watchful eyes for its security and stability; we will work towards reshaping these forces in accordance with our vision for its modernisation and upgrading its efficiency, while preserving its size and numbers, so that it will remain — as it has always been — a role model in efficiency, excellence and belonging.
The ambitions of all Jordanians are great; they match their resolve. Jordanians entrusted us and your good selves with the responsibility of leading our march and realising these noble ambitions and goals. Let us all rise to the level of this august responsibility. To that end we need concerted joint efforts and the highest degree of cooperation and complementarity between all authorities, especially the legislative and the executive so that relations between them would be founded on mutual trust and full cooperation, free from personal ends or partisan or narrow geographical affiliations. The essence of such relations should be committed to our higher national interest away from taking positions or exchanging accusations.
Let everyone be absolutely certain and highly confident that we march hand-in-hand, with sure steps on the right path, and that the realisation of our goals will match what Jordanians are — the Jordanians of resolve and strong will. Tomorrow will be brighter, God willing.
The Almighty God is the provider of success.
Peace and God's mercy and blessings be upon you.