…Secondly, the government should fight corruption, tax avoidance (which according to the Income and Sales Tax Department in 2016 cost the budget JD 3 billion), mismanagement, and cronyism to make Jordanians feel their taxes are being put to a good use. One study, conducted by the University of Jordan Strategic Studies Center and NAMA Consultants, argues that only 35% of Jordanians have a positive view on how the governments serves the people, a steep decline from 65% in 2011. Even larger number – 79% of the population according to Arab Barometer — believe state institutions are corrupted, and consider economy and corruption their biggest worries. This is confirmed by Jordan’s ranking in 2017 Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index — 59th position among 180 countries. An illustrative example of how big of a problem corruption in the country is might be the recent cigarette scandal involving accusations of local authorities granting tax exemptions to a businessman owning a number of unlicensed cigarette manufacturing plantsall over the kingdom, which — according to whistle-blowers — may have cost the budget a loss of over JD 150 million. If Jordanians are to accept tax increases, they need to trust that no one is able to escape making a contribution just because they have wasta (good connections).
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