Saudi signs off on aid to Jordan
[Jordan's] Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour on Wednesday announced that Saudi Arabia has agreed to supply Jordan with $487 million, of which $125 million will be transferred soon.
Speaking to reporters at a brief press conference at the Prime Ministry, Ensour explained that the funds would be used to finance development projects under a $5 billion fund the six-state Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has set to support Jordan.
The premier added that the decision followed talks with the Saudi side earlier in the day, when the Saudi officials endorsed projects proposed by Jordan.
Ensour expected that other projects worth $300 million to be okayed by the Saudis soon.
The $125 million will be received “within the coming few days” while the rest of the $487 million will be included in the 2013 budget.
Meanwhile, in a bid to support the Jordanian economy, the Saudi Development Fund will separately deposit $250 million at the Central Bank of Jordan (CBJ). Ensour said Jordan will be entitled to use this deposit to spend on the agreed upon projects in 2013.
The Gulf fund was set up by the GCC during last year’s summit to support development projects in the Kingdom.
Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait and Qatar decided to extend $5 billion over a five-year period to support development schemes in Jordan. Each of these four nations will pay $1.25 billion.
So far, only Kuwait has met this year’s pledge, depositing $250 million at the CBJ, Ensour has previously announced.
Half of this sum will be at the disposal of the government “within weeks”, while the remaining $125 million will be available next year.
In a related development, the premier said the government has signed a memorandum of understanding with Qatar under which the Kingdom will form a technical committee to decide on projects to benefit from Qatar’s share in the Gulf fund.
Earlier this month, Jordanian officials were in Abu Dhabi for talks on the UAE’s contribution to the GCC fund for Jordan, Ensour said, adding that the Emirati side is yet to respond to the proposals.