Jordan's government to be asked to trim down for the new year
The Lower House Financial Committee will request the government to downsize the 2014 state budget draft law, head of the committee said Saturday.
MP Mohammad Saudi told The Jordan Times over the phone that the panel will ask the government to cut the size of next year’s budget, which will see a 12.8 per cent expansion in spending and a deficit of around JD1.1 billion.
The draft budget for 2014 shows an increase in spending by JD920 million over the 2013 budget, taking government spending to JD8.096 billion.
The government is expanding the budget at a rate that is higher than that of the gross national product, Saudi said, noting that the Kingdom’s GNP is expected to expand by 8 per cent.
Saudi said the committee also believes that budget planners were “very optimistic” when they projected local revenues to grow by 11.6 per cent to JD5.831 billion compared with the JD5.226 billion re-estimated for 2013.
“We have many reservations on the draft law,” the lawmaker said, adding that the committee started reviewing the spending bill on December 1.
The government should make some amendments to lower the budget deficit so the Lower House can pass this spending bill, he stressed, criticising the Ministry of Finance for increasing current expenditure at the expense of capital spending.
He noted that the committee will also ask the government to merge some of the 62 independent public institutions, which have relatively similar responsibilities, such as merging the Press and Publications Department and the Audiovisual Commission into one entity.
“There are other entities that either should be cancelled or merged with others,” Saudi added.
The government has also referred to the House the 2014 draft budgets of independent state agencies.
Independent institutions are expected to generate revenues of JD710 million next year, while they are set to spend around JD1.8 billion and see a deficit of JD1.1 billion.
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