Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Being Held Accountable

I have difficulty understanding the logic of certain regulations in Jordan. I think many of them exist in order to confuse lines of responsibility because the judicial system is underdeveloped and unable to cope with minor violations. For instance, the chicken Shawarma affair last summer happened because one restaurant violated health regulations and sold tainted food making many people ill. The reaction of the government was to close all the restaurants in the entire country that sold chicken Shawarma! This caused unnecessary and unbearable financial loss to many small businesses. What should have happened was that the restaurant responsible for the initial violation should have been the only one shut down and made to pay a fine or whatever. Publicizing the affair would have been sufficient warning to others to review the health standards in their kitchens.

A few years ago I remember an incident where a travel agent put an advertisement in the newspaper that was fraudulent. The ad promised something that it did not deliver or had no intention of delivering. Instead of prosecuting the agency, all travel agents were required to have prior approval from the Ministry of Tourism before they could place ads. This was a ridiculous requirement which produced nothing but unnecessary busy work for the travel agents and the ministry, not to mention lost revenue for legitimate agents who were planning to sell tours that summer.

The article in today’s paper about a controversial law that restricts the work of over 3,000 civil societies in Jordan is a current example of pointless micro management going nowhere and producing nothing. I quote Asma Khader: “The common procedure is to refer any violations supposedly committed by any organization to the courts and not impose laws that restrict their freedom on the basis that these organizations MIGHT violate the law.” I don’t see how the government can pass a law to prevent people from breaking the law. If someone breaks a law, prosecute.



Blogger Jad said...

I'm not really sure if I want to agree with you or not, I would agree if I look at it with a logical sense but that means not counting "understanding how Jordan works" and looking at it with "Understanding how Jordan works" would make me aggressively disagree with you.

Reputation in Jordan is everything especially when it comes to tourism, as a person who engage with tourists and expats in the Kingdom, I would definitely hate to hear stories about how tourist agency cheated on them or how a taxi driver charged them triple.

as for the restaurant case, it was more than one restaurant to fire up the case and the first one was with 700 incident; all happens in Baqa'a and Eastern Amman so there was no reason to close Western Amman restaurants but many of Western Amman restaurants have a branch in the East.

The Shawerma business is a dirty business by nature, just try to look at workers nails or just see how they wear a single glove in the hand that they don't use to make your sandwich.

I'm not against closing restaurants country wide but totally against not following up with the "new shawerma making regulations" just go to any shawerma place and see how they are breaking the laws.

I believe that Jordan most bottleneck is the slow judicial system but if it was quick and accurate most of us would be reporting from jail now :D

Wednesday, June 18, 2008  
Blogger Jad said...

ops, that was long for 7:40 am!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008  

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