- Associated Press - Monday, July 27, 2015

July 27—AMMAN — The Economic and Social Council (ESC) plans to carry out a number of studies next year on issues that should be of top priority for policy makers, ESC President Munther Shara said Monday.

At a meeting with journalists, Shara said Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour has asked the council to prepare a comprehensive study on small- and medium-sized enterprises as well as microprojects, and to propose solutions on how to ease financing and boost the competitiveness and productivity of such projects.

The ESC also plans to launch a survey on people with disabilities in the Kingdom to highlight the difficulties facing this segment of the population and to come up with solutions to integrate them into society and the labour market, he said.

Another project in the pipeline, Shara said, is a study on women’s participation in the labour force in the private sector.

The Ministry of Public Sector Development recently launched a study on the participation of women in government, because it is important to see the size of women’s participation in the private sector, he added.

An update on poverty pockets across the Kingdom will be another study the council seeks to prepare next year, according to Shara, who indicated that the ESC also plans to conduct a detailed study on poor districts.

The ESC’s comprehensive annual report, Shara said, will focus next year on the competitiveness of Jordan, covering sectors such as human resources, industry, tourism, services and agriculture.

The ESC chairman said the council is working to secure funding for a number of studies that will include a review of the 2011-2020 National Strategy for Employment launched in 2012, adding that the review will evaluate achievements and setbacks.

Shara said the council also seeks to prepare periodic forecasts for economic and social indicators.

Asked whether the government takes studies prepared by the council seriously in its decisions, he said some decisions by the government were taken upon recommendations by the ESC, adding that the council aims at becoming a consultant not only for the government but also for Parliament.

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(c)2015 the Jordan Times (Amman, Jordan)

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