Jordan lauded by IMF
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said that Jordan performed well in terms of corrective economic measures this year despite a multiplicity of challenges, an IMF statement said.
Concluding a December 3-20 visit to the Kingdom in the context of the first review of the Jordan’s Stand-By Arrangement (SBA), the IMF team handling the Jordanian file cited the decision to remove general subsidies as one of the steps taken to address budgetary imbalances, according to a statement by the fund, which the government has approached for around $2 billion loan.
The decision, which triggered days of public unrest, saves the country at least JD500 million, while JD300 million has been directed as cash support for vulnerable segments of the society.
Kristina Kostial, the IMF mission chief for Jordan, said in the statement that Jordan “has faced challenges during the year from the disruption of the flow of natural gas, the ongoing conflict in Syria and an acceleration of the influx of refugees. Combined with higher oil and food prices and a shortfall in grants, this has put further pressure on the country’s economy. Nonetheless, growth is expected to increase slightly to 3 per cent compared with 2.6 per cent in 2011, while average inflation is expected to be around 5 per cent for the year”.
She added: “Despite this challenging environment, the authorities have been implementing sound macroeconomic policies aimed at reducing fiscal and external imbalances.” She described her team’s meetings with Jordanian officials as “very constructive about the road ahead”.
“The authorities have reaffirmed their commitment to continue their programme of reforms to keep the fiscal and external balances on a sustainable path. Discussions will continue in early 2013 on designing a comprehensive programme for 2013. This programme will include specific policy measures that would help Jordan to reach its programme objectives and address the key challenges it faces, including the large inflow of Syrian refugees.”