Ammon News, Business

Japan grants $3.7mln to support Jordan's health sector

[7/27/2020 7:28:11 AM]

AMMONNEWS - The governments of Jordan and Japan on Monday signed a grant agreement of 400 million yen ($3.7 million) for the provision of medical equipment to enhance the capacity of the Ministry of Health. The agreement was inked by Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, Wissam Rabadi, and Japanese Ambassador to Jordan, Hidenao Yanagi, in the presence of Health Minister Sa'ad Jaber. It came under the framework of Japan's Official Development Assistance for the Economic and Social Development Programme. "This grant is part of the quick grant aid package, which the government of Japan has recently announced, for the provision of medical equipment to the countries which fight against Coronavirus. And it comes as urgent support designed to provide medical equipment to strengthen the public health and medical system in the recipient country affected by COVID-19," Rabadi said. The minister also thanked the Japanese government for its financial and technical assistance, saying: "we look forward to not only maintaining but rather expanding cooperation in the future to help us address various challenges and implement priority projects." He pointed to the deep-rooted relations between the two countries, and their endeavor to further boosting them in various areas of mutual interest and at various political, social and economic levels. During the ceremony, Health Minister Sa'ad Jaber stressed that this agreement underlines the true partnership between the Kingdom and Japan, and their cooperation in combating the COVID-19 disease. The Jordanian government, Jaber said, has provided personal protection materials to the Japanese government during the crisis, and now Japan in turn supports the Kingdom with medical equipment. For his part, Japan's envoy said: "Japan commends that Jordan has so for succeeded in preventing the spread of the epidemic. Nevertheless, this combat against the COVID-J9 will take long time. For that reason, I would like to reiterate that strengthening the health system in each country is essential. Moreover, Jordan has been working towards the realization of universal health coverage for many years. Therefore, we are very pleased to be to extend this assistance valued approximate $3.7million. I hope that the new grant will contribute to Jordan's fight against COVID-19 and life-saving efforts." "In a telephone conversation between Japanese Prime Minister ABE Shinzo and His Majesty King Abdullah II in April, they agreed to work together to prevent the spread of COVID-19, " he added, stressing that this grant is an embodiment of the cooperation between two countries.

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Jordan, WFP sign $700mln agreement

[7/26/2020 7:52:34 AM]

AMMONNEWS - Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Wissam Rabadi and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) Country Director and Representative Sarah Gordon-Gibson on Sunday signed a $700-million agreement to provide assistance to one million vulnerable Jordanians and refugees, within the framework of the WFP’s Country Strategic Plan for 2020–2022. Over the next three years, WFP will provide assistance for existing and future crises, with a focus on supporting refugees, transitioning to resilience building, and supporting the social protection and livelihoods of Jordanians, as well as building the capacity of national institutions. Emphasis will be put on the empowerment of women and young people. Rabadi, who signed the agreement on behalf of the government, calls on the international community to continue their generous support to enable the government to provide a sustainable, strategic, and holistic coordination mechanism in response to crises, as well as ensuring sufficient funding to decrease the current vulnerabilities of Jordanians alongside Syrian refugees in Jordan. The minister also lauded WFP’s efforts in support of the Kingdom throughout the years and its response in addressing the impacts of the Syrian crisis, which has helped Jordan in staying resilient especially amidst the challenging regional crises that continue to put a toll on Jordan. Rabadi highlighted that through its range of activities, WFP has injected US$ 207 million into the local ‎economy in 2019. With a budget of nearly USD 700 million, the Country Strategic Plan rebalances WFP’s portfolio towards the needs of Jordan and Jordanians, as the country faces increasing challenges, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since 1964, WFP has been a strategic and operational partner of the government of Jordan. The CSP is aligned with national priorities as well as the United Nations Sustainable Development Framework (2018–2022), and aims at improving the food security, nutrition, gender equality, education, resilience and social protection of vulnerable populations in Jordan. "I am delighted to sign this agreement. It is a clear indication of WFP’s commitment to working with and supporting the Government of Jordan in its path towards a sustainable and resilient country. The CSP reflects the first step towards a longer-term approach, to enable the Kingdom to realize the goals of its Vision 2025 and achieve Agenda 2030. This means moving from direct implementation, to supporting and strengthening government and community-based capacities to meet the needs of vulnerable groups and promote social cohesion within communities", said Sarah Gordon-Gibson, WFP’s Country Director and Representative. The Country Strategic Plan, through four strategic outcomes, contributes directly to SDGs 2 and 17, and supporting SDGs 1, 5, 8 and 13. While driving innovation and together with partners, WFP is supporting half a million refugees living in camps and communities with monthly cash assistance to meet their food needs. The school feeding programme provides healthy daily snacks to over 400,000 Jordanian and refugee school children. Employment opportunities will be created for around 127,000 vulnerable people through income generating activities to improve their food security, as well as to build community assets that contribute to climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction. Capacity strengthening activities include supporting the Government in reforming and expanding national social protection schemes, enhancing emergency preparedness and response capabilities, and contributing to the food security and nutrition sector.

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Iraq to resume oil exports to Jordan

[7/16/2020 12:38:53 PM]

AMMONNEWS - Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Hala Zawati on Thursday announced that Iraq will resume pumping oil to the Kingdom after completing the logistical procedures. In a press statement, Zawati said that the two sides agreed last week to resume export of Iraqi oil to the Zarqa-based Jordan Petroleum Refinery Company, stressing the importance of the move in boosting bilateral cooperation in the field of energy. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the minister stated that Iraqi tanker trucks are unloaded on the borders (back-to-back), in line with government procedures to slow the spread of the virus. Under a memorandum of understanding signed in February 2019, Jordan purchases Iraqi oil at an average of 10,000 barrels a day, constituting 7 percent of the Kingdom's needs.

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Tax Department denies new tax levied on masks, sterilizers

[7/14/2020 8:39:57 AM]

AMMONNEWS - The Income and Sales Tax Department Tuesday denied a local TV report that the government re-imposed a general sales tax on sanitizers and face masks. It clarified in a press statement that the sales tax on masks and sterilizers has been cut from 16 per cent to 1 per cent since March, and no new taxes have been imposed. The 1 per cent was maintained, instead of total exemption, at the request of the industrial sector, it added. The department said that the decision to cut the sales tax on these items aims to reduce the cost of production inputs to enable the national industrial sector to compete, and also reduce cost on local consumers.

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Jordan's trade deficit with EU countries down 21.8pct

[7/14/2020 8:36:24 AM]

AMMONNEWS - Jordan's trade balance deficit with countries of the European Union (EU) stood at JD666 million, decreasing during the first four months of this year by 21.8 percent, compared to JD852 million during the same period of 2019. A Department of Statistics (DoS) report showed Tuesday that the value of national exports to EU countries during the first four months of 2020 stood at JD44 million, a drop by 9.9 percent compared to JD49 million at the same period of last year. The value of imports from the EU countries also dropped by 21.2 percent, reaching JD710 million, compared to JD901 million during the same comparison period.

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Central bank response to COVID-19 continues to pay off

[7/11/2020 4:07:53 PM]

AMMONNEWS - Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in early March, the Central Bank of Jordan (CBJ) has embarked on a robust approach to cushion economic fallout and maintain monetary stability. To help the economy weather the impact of the pandemic, which sent tremors across the global economy, the CBJ launched a JD500-million soft lending program targeting small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). To date, a total of JD360 million of the tranche has been lent at an average of JD98,000 per loan, according to CBJ figures. About 43 per cent, or JD156 million, of the amount lent was used to finance payrolls, helping pay the salaries of more than 75,000 private sector employees. The fact that the average loan application was around JD98,000 indicates that much of the funding was utilized by SMEs, said Khaldoun Wishah, Director of the CBJ's Open Market and Public Debt Division, noting that only 4 per cent of the applicants requested amounts above JD250,000. According to the bank, the interest rates on these loans do not exceed 2 per cent for a 42-month term and with a grace period of 12 months for sectors hard hit by the crisis. Also, the bank has extended a total of JD130 million to 134 companies as part of its JD1.2 billion flagship "Soft Finance" program, which was launched in 2012. What is new is that the bank expanded access to this program by allowing the use of facilities provided under this program to be used to finance payrolls, operating expenses and working capital. Additionally, the interest rate on these loans was reduced and the funding cap was further increased. The CBJ allowed banks to defer individual loan installments for the months of March and April, and May for corporate borrowers. With regard to monetary stability, the bank slashed benchmark interest rates by 150 basis points and ordered banks to reflect this on existing loans as of May, benefitting more than 270,00 borrowers.

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Planning Minister : Foreign assistance aims to activate, bolster development process

[7/8/2020 4:52:09 PM]

AMMONNEWS - Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, Wissam Rabadi, said that Jordan has received $950 million loan from the World Bank (WB). The government is currently negotiating with the WB to reach an agreement to restructure the rest of the loan, in order to support health and education, economic opportunities and social protection, Rabadi added in a joint press conference with the Ministers of Finance and State for Media Affairs held in the Prime Ministry on Wednesday. Rabadi underlined that the aim of foreign assistance is to activate and bolster the development process, enhance benefits, and improve public services, in addition to covering the financing gap in the state budget to deliver government priorities. Planning minister stressed that providing and sustaining foreign assistance to Jordan reflects respect and appreciation by the civil society and the world for the Kingdom and its regional role led by His Majesty King Abdullah, as well as a recognition of reforms Jordan has implemented during the past two years, noting that since the launch of the London initiative, Jordan has undertaken 116 economic reforms. He said the assistance is spent in an optimal way and managed efficiently to improve basic services for citizens. He emphasized that international and donor entities understand Jordan's development needs and the size of challenges and burdens facing the Kingdom due to the impacts of regional conflicts, chief of which is the Syrian refugees crisis.

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