Cash foreign assistance stands at JD1.024 billion
AMMAN (JT) '' The treasury has received a total of JD1.024 billion ($1.44 billion) in grants and financial aid since the beginning of the year, Finance Minister Mohammad Abu Hammour announced Wednesday. The minister highlighted the contacts His Majesty King Abdullah made with Arab and foreign donors to explain the economic challenges Jordan has been facing due to the repercussions of the global financial crisis and the impact of the political turmoil in the region. Thanking donor Arab and foreign countries, particularly Saudi Arabia, Abu Hammour said in a statement sent to The Jordan Times that the grants will help the Kingdom overcome economic difficulties, which have reflected in a tangible drop in tourism income and a decline in remittances of Jordanian expatriates. Foreign currency reserves at the Central Bank of Jordan have also gone down while unemployment rates increased and the country's energy bill has seen a sharp rise, the minister said in the statement. (see separate story). He also cited a growing public debt and irregular supply of natural gas from Egypt due to several sabotage attacks on the pipeline in the Sinai forcing power generation plants to use costly heavy fuel that has cost the country JD3 million per day Meanwhile, Abu Hammour noted that the government will start immediately to implement King Abdullah's directives to set up a fund for the development of governorates at a cost of JD150 million, stating that the sum will be covered through the grants the treasury received recently. The financial assistance will appear in the state budget of this year under public revenues, he added. The King's directives show his keenness to distribute development gains to all governorates across the Kingdom, Abu Hammour said, adding that the projects will focus on creating employment for Jordanians and to improve the quality of services delivered to residents of all governorates in addition to upgrading infrastructure.