Ammon News, Business

IMF official briefed on economic developments in Jordan

[9/20/2017 2:15:45 PM]

AMMONNEWS - Director of the Middle East and Central Asia Department of the International Monetary Fund, Jihad Azour, said that he had reviewed with the prime minister, the minister of finance and the governor of the Central Bank of Jordan economic developments and growth prospects. Azour told Petra that his first visit as a director at the IMF was an opportunity to learn directly about economic developments and renew the fund's support to Jordan in terms of providing the largest possible technical support and advice at this stage. He pointed out that the visit, which ended today, coincided with the public debate about a proposed amendment to the Income Tax Law, stressing that the consultation with the government focused on the challenges facing the Kingdom and economic reforms that are taking place. "We have discussed neither the draft bill nor the proposed amendment", Azour said. On the fact that economic growth stood at 2.2 percent in the first quarter of the year, Azour explained that the regional situation was unfavorable in 2017, in light of political and security conditions. He said that Jordan and the region need higher levels of growth to create sufficient employment opportunities for young people entering the labor market and address the problem of unemployment. He pointed out that the main objectives of the reform program with the government is to achieve a higher level of growth in the largest number of social strata, maintain financial and monetary stability and re-release part of the credits to be used in the development of infrastructure and improve the business environment and increase the competitiveness of the national economy . Azour said there was no single recipe for growth that would suit all countries, but "the first entrance to growth is financial stability and reducing public debt". As for Jordan, he stressed the importance of maintaining stability in the first place and giving confidence to investors and distributing the burdens in a fair manner. In this regard, he praised measures taken by the Central Bank of Jordan to stimulate SMEs and start-ups and provide them with appropriate financing tools.

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PM: Gov't committed to King's directives when discussing economic reform program

[9/20/2017 2:06:09 PM]

AMMONNEWS - Prime Minister Hani Al Mulki said that government is committed to the directives of His Majesty King Abdullah II the to ensure that implementation of financial reforms next year would not affect middle- and low-income families. During a meeting with representatives of the industrial sector at the Jordan Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, he said that the government will deal in a transparent manner with decisions it takes, adding that these decisions will be announced clearly. "It is too early to talk about the steps that will be adopted by the government regarding the economic reform program, especially that the budget will be approved by the Cabinet in mid November and will be presented to the Lower House of Parliament," the prime minister added. He said the government's vision on the program is still under discussion and that there will be a dialogue with the industrial sector in the interest of the country and the national economy. On raising taxes, Al Mulki said that the government is currently holding discussions with the International Monetary Fund delegation that is currently visiting the Kingdom, adding that the government has not adopted any measures yet in this regard. On free trade agreements signed with a number of countries, Al Mulki said the government will revisit these agreements, noting that the minister of industry will pay a visit to Turkey later this month to discuss mechanisms of implementing the investment side of the free trade agreement with Turkey. Minister of Industry, Trade and Supply Yaroub Qudah highlighted the importance of the industrial sector for economic growth, adding this sector is the most important tool to increase Gross Domestic product through exports and expanding the production base. President of the Jordan Chamber of Industry Adnan Abul Ragheb said the industrial sector has made, despite the challenges facing it to, major contributions to economic and social development. *Petra

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Government exempts Iraqi trucks from financial fines

[9/19/2017 8:44:44 AM]

AMMONNEWS - As part of the government efforts and measures to overcome obstacles facing trade with Iraq, Prime Minister Hani Al-Mulqi, Tuesday decided to exempt Iraqi trucks, parked on the Jordanian side of the border from the financial penalties . The exemption, which came in conjunction with the opening of borders between Jordan and Iraq, would encourage trade movement through the Al Karama-Turaibil border crossing, boost economic relations between the two countries and facilitate the movement of citizens and goods from both directions. The decision also aims to accelerate the operation of the Kingdom's truck fleet that transport goods and commodities to Iraq, and revive shipping in the port of Aqaba.

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China sees great potential in increasing cooperation with Jordan: envoy

[9/19/2017 4:50:27 AM]

AMMONNEWS - China sees great potential in boosting cooperation with Jordan in various areas as the bilateral political ties are solid and strategic, Chinese Ambassador to Jordan Pan Weifang has said. In a speech at the Arab Thought Forum held on Sunday, Pan highlighted China's rising role in global affairs, citing that China has become the world's second largest economy. The ambassador said that China has great potential in enhancing cooperation with Jordan through providing funds and investment. He said China is keen on increasing investment in Jordan, referring to several projects by Chinese investors in the Kingdom in the field of textile, LED lights and other areas. The envoy stressed that energy cooperation was another successful example of the collaboration between the two sides, noting that China has provided 1.6 billion U.S. dollars to finance Jordan's largest oil shale power plant with a total capacity of 470 megawatts. Pan added that under the Belt and Road Initiative that aims to connect China with the world, several infrastructure projects including rail lines are to be built in Jordan with China's help. "Jordan and China have several areas for increased cooperation, and we expect more in the future," he said. *Xinhua

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World Bank, GAM to launch public expenditure, financial accountability program

[9/18/2017 2:59:09 PM]

AMMONNEWS - The World Bank is set to launch, on Wednesday, the Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability Assessment Program (PEFA) in cooperation with the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM). The program is based on evaluating financial management practices at the level of countries, according to performance indicators covering budget reliability and transparency of public finances, and other aspects related to budgets and public spending. The program aims to share the 2014-2016 GAM's Public Expenditure and Accountability Assessment Report and the financial analysis report, as well as presenting the municipality's financial situation, its investment plans and discussing of the impact of previous reports on the its future. The GAM and the World Bank began their cooperation in 2016, when the latter's mission and the French Development Agency (AFD) expressed desire to assess the municipality's financial management after they decided that GAM was eligible to undergo the evaluation program, through phases and sequent steps. The full cost of the evaluation program will be funded by the World Bank, in coordination with the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation. Based on the joint collaboration, the GAM will work with the World Bank to secure grants to fund future capacity-building programs for the municipality's financial management according to the PEFA's output.

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Amman Bourse opens trading with drop

[9/18/2017 4:37:49 AM]

AMMONNEWS - The Amman Stock Exchange(ASE) on Monday opened trading with a drop to 2135 points from its last session's closure of 2136 points. The market index fluctuated in the first 15 minutes of today's session between 2131 points and 2135 points with a trading volume of JD1.7 million.

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Gov't economic team discusses 2018 general budget

[9/17/2017 10:31:08 AM]

AMMONNEWS - Prime Minister Hani Al Mulki chaired a meeting for the government economic team to discuss a number of economic issues and priorities, and follow up on the implementation of plans that had been approved previously. Al Mulki stressed the importance of following up on the implementation of the economic stimulation plan and ensure that it would achieve its objectives. The blueprint aims to revive the momentum of the economic growth and benefit from the available development capabilities in the Kingdom through creating sectoral economic and financial programmes to frame the visions and policies related to each sector. The programme is also designed to generate jobs and develop human resources, in addition to preparing governmental institutions to be able to provide quality services. During the meeting, which also discussed the 2018 general budget, the prime minister said the budget should reflect economic priorities, and stressed the need to cut expenditure. He said the process of setting the budgets of governorates will be based on priorities defined by local councils, adding that this approach will accelerate the implementation of service projects and improve services in all the kingdom's governorates. The meeting also reviewed economic indicators over the past period that showed improvement and recovery in the first half of 2017, mainly in the sectors of tourism, exports, extractive industries, services, (Banks) and expatriates' remittances.

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