Jordan pushing ahead to cap off five-year reforms: Fakhoury

Amman, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, Imad Fakhoury, said Jordan is working on completing a five-year reform matrix with the World Bank and the country’s major donors aimed to boost growth and create jobs, which will help the government carry out its reform agenda in line with the economic growth stimulus plan 2018-2022.

In a press statement on Sunday to comment on the Brussels Conference on Syria held 24-25 this month, he added the matrix highlights top priority reforms to be implemented in light of the proposed time frame.

On the ambitious bid, he said this matrix will increase economic growth rates and employment opportunities, especially as it includes various reforms aimed at promoting macroeconomic stability and increasing competitiveness through the development of appropriate legislation, simultaneous with creating a more flexible labor market to provide new jobs.

The matrix, he announced, also aims at boosting national exports of goods and services, improving access to financing from local institutions, as well as reform bids in the transport, energy and water sectors.

The minister said the government is working in line with the commitments of the London conference to develop a funding program with the World Bank (WB) and Jordan’s major donors interested in providing guarantees or soft loans to support the budget to carry out this ambitious “matrix of reforms” for the next five years.

On the matrix feasibility, the minister stressed the importance of the matrix in helping obtain “soft” financing packages from the WB with the support of donor countries to plug in the Ministry of Finance’s annual funding gap for the period 2019-2022, with cost less than the local or external commercial lending and longer grace periods and repayment as decided by the Public Debt Committee and the Council of Ministers in accordance with the public debt strategy.

These proposed financing packages will be an alternative to external commercial lending with lower-cost financing, he added.

He said the matrix and the funding program will be part of what will be presented at the International Conference of Jordan in London to be held before the end of 2018 to underscore priorities and progress in the economic, financial and structural reforms, the economic stimulus plan for the period 2018-2020 and capital projects to develop infrastructure and government services, which will be implemented through public-private partnerships and investment opportunities.

Speaking on his participation at the Brussels Conference, the minister said: success of the aid is only crystallized through full coordination with the government and in line with its priorities in accordance with the Jordanian response plan 2018-2020. This support will enable the government to continue to provide appropriate services to refugees and host communities.

At the event, the minister noted the refugee host countries were actually the largest donor countries in light of the burden they bore and the services they provided to refugees.

As for the Syrian dilemma, the minister said it required a new course through a comprehensive approach with Jordan adopted at the 2016 London Conference based on turning the Syrian refugee crisis into a development opportunity that positively affects host communities and refugees as well.

On how grants and concessional loans help Jordan, the minister stressed the need to mobilize grant-driven additional, sufficient financial resources to support the Jordanian response plan, bridge the budget’s funding gap and maintain sustainability of macroeconomic stability.

He noted the international community understands the success of this approach will depend on the full and reciprocal fulfillment of the obligations stipulated in the new approach with Jordan.

Source: Jordan News Agency