Finance Minister Michel Marto said on Tuesday that the 2001 budget deficit will amount to 380 million Jordanian dinars or six percent of the GDP before grants. The minister did not disclose the size of next year's budget, but he refuted earlier reports published in local Arabic dailies which forecast a JD2.26-2.4 billion fiscal budget for 2001.
The projected deficit would represent a one percent drop over the 2000 fiscal year deficit.
Meanwhile, Marto said that the issue of a possible hike in oil prices will be considered in the yet-unveiled budget, following the slightly higher rate for Iraqi oil the Kingdom will pay next year under its annual oil protocol renewed in Baghdad last month.
Government officials had expected oil prices to go up next year and noted that the issue will be discussed in the 2001's fiscal budget due to its impact on the deficit. The government subsidies for oil derivatives currently range between 20-40 percent.
The budget will be unveiled on Thursday and will be submitted to the Lower House for debate next Wednesday. — ( Jordan Times )
By Rana Awwad
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)