Applying the G20 Training Strategy in Jordan (Phase 2)

COVID-19 implications on the Garment & Leather and the Chemicals & Cosmetics sectors.

Article | Amman, Jordan | 19 October 2020
Like in most of the world, the novel Coronavirus or (COVID-19) pandemic has disrupted the Jordanian labour market. Jordan is currently facing the detrimental economic effects of COVID-19 on both private and the public sectors. In light of the threats posed by the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Jordanian industry and economy, the ILO’s “Applying the G20 Training Strategy Project: A Partnership of the ILO and the Russian Federation” (Phase 2), published a research paper, which investigates the issues that may pose a constraint to the success of the established national sector skills councils (NSSs) established under the umbrella of the Project on the Garment & Leather and the Chemicals & Cosmetics sectors.

The crisis driven by the COVID-19 pandemic has serious implications on production and employment in both target sectors and therefore, makes clear a disruption on skills development systems. The extent of these repercussions is yet to be accurately determined, as the magnitude of the pandemic remain uncertain. Nevertheless, employers, workers’ representatives and experts in the sector have already begun to gather information in order to understand what the implications of the above, may be and what measures need to be introduced in order to alleviate some of the negative effects borne by the crisis.

The research undertaken by the Project found that it is not only the capacity of labour force decline, which may become problematic but also employees retained by organizations have reduced job security compared to the pre-pandemic period. Recent figures have reflected that as a result of COVID-19; the Kingdom’s debt levels will increase. Empirically, this will limit the quantity and effectiveness of policy responses brought by a high deficiency in the fiscal budget.

The degree of unemployment among Jordanians is quite alarming in the face of the nation’s economic progress, a growth rate that has otherwise contributed to development of jobs. The revival of Jordan’s economy is attributed to the rise of construction and production industries that offer low-wages with most roles done by foreigners or migrants. Specifically, as the private sector is highly reliant on foreign investment, that has already experienced a significant downsizing, as developed countries are struggling to uplift their own economies.

The research primarily focused on socio-political factors that influence Jordan’s quick and assertive measures and responses in facing the COVID-19 pandemic in both sectors. The measures taken included: school closures as of March 15, closure of all points of entry and suspension of commercial flights as of March 17, issuance of Defence Order No.2 for the year 2020 in accordance with the provisions of the Defence Law No. (13) of 1992 imposing a nationwide 24-hour curfew between March 21 to 24, 2020. The research drew valuable insights from the Jordanian labour market.

NSSC have shifted their methods of operations to become more efficient to cope with the “new-norm”. Multiple efforts were imposed by the government to assist labour in times of crisis, nevertheless, there were gaps faced in the labour force support mechanisms in both sectors. These policy papers are acknowledgment of the impact of COVID-19 on the respective sectors and are considered an essential tool for devising implementable recommendations in this regard.