Ammon News, Business

The Funds of UNHCR Jordan Stand at 27% Till The Rest of 2019

[8/15/2019 6:27:23 AM]

AMMONNEWS - While the year 2019 is already over half-way complete, UNHCR's Jordan operations are currently only 27 per cent funded for its annual needs, according to the organisation. "If we are to continue meeting refugees' needs, then more flexible funding is needed in 2019," spokesperson for UNHCR Jordan, Lilly Carlisle told The Jordan Times on Wednesday. More than 80 per cent of refugees in Jordan live below the poverty line, on less than $3 a day, according to Carlisle, who highlighted that many refugees depend on the UNHCR for cash assistance and healthcare. "We are grateful for donors such as Switzerland who have come forward in recent weeks with new funding, but the needs of refugees across the country are still acute," Carlisle said. Of the roughly $370 million required for the year, roughly $96 million had been donated to the organisation as of July 30, with the US and Germany as the most substantial contributors, contributing $39 million and $16 million, respectively, according to UNHCR data. While the organisation has yet to receive the remaining 73 per cent of funding required, other significant contributors include Norway, Australia, Japan, Qatar, Canada, Ireland and France, in descending order of contribution, according to UNCHR data. The need for such contributions remains great as Jordan has maintained its status of hosting the second highest share of refugees per capita globally, as of July 2019, according to the organisation. As of late July, there were 751,015 refugees living in Jordan, with roughly 660,000 from Syria, close to 70,000 refugees from Iraq and almost 15,000 refugees from Yemen, according to UNCHR data. Many of these refugees benefit from the UNHCR's cash assistance programme, which helps close to 128,000 individuals and which provides almost 30,000 refugee families with multi-purpose cash assistance to help with basic needs, according to UNHCR data released in July. "Refugees of all ages and nationalities depend on UNHCR funded services in their day to day lives," Carlisle said. *JT

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Jordanian experts : Informal economy signifies weakening of national economy

[8/6/2019 5:15:13 AM]

AMMONNEWS - Nearly 45 per cent of workers were employed in the informal economy, in 2012, a phenomenon which experts say financially weakens the country, results in socio-economic distortions, and exposes workers to human rights violations. While the informal economy accounted for 25 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2012, such means of obtaining an income weakens the economy overall as non-registered workers fail to pay taxes, and the economy is unfairly distributed among the people of Jordan, according to experts. “Unregulated economic activities help [workers] evade all the entitlements resulting from the state towards fees and taxes while benefiting from most of the services provided to other sectors,” economist Mazen Irsheid told The Jordan Times on Monday. “Such activities effectively weaken the Kingdom financially and bring about socio-economic distortions, such as the inequitable distribution of the economy among citizens,” Irsheid said. Due to the fact that workers in the shadow economy do not pay taxes, public finances are weakened, political economy consultant Zayyan Zawaneh told The Jordan Times on Monday. “As the shadow economy gets bigger, the national economy is weakened and the government gets more absent from the over-all dynamics: Economic, social political and security-wise,” Zawaneh said. Because of the nature of the shadow economy, in which workers are paid cash for their work and work without work permits, economist and investment consultant, Wajdi Makhamreh told The Jordan Times it can be difficult for the government to prevent people from working informally, as those within the informal economy do not submit applications to the Labour Ministry. Ultimately, the taxes that such workers fail to pay result in a large financial burden on the government which has the potential to imply a budget deficit, according to Makhamreh. “Jordan must seek [to lower] the rate of the shadow economy,” Irsheid said. “By doing so, it would increase the ability of the state to regulate and control economic activities and reduce tax evasion, and, therefore, the ability to estimate the size of the general domestic product more accurately, being the most important tool to measure economic activities.” While working conditions are not optimal among most waged workers in Jordan, those working in the informal economy are often subject to working conditions even worse than those in the formal economy, according to a report by Ahmad Awad, director of the Phenix Centre. “The extreme majority of informal workers and/or the workers in the informal economy are exposed to violations in terms of wages, less than minimum wages, a lack of timely payment of wages, lack of social protection under social security system, and lack of annual, sick and official leaves and working for long hours, all of which are contrary to human rights standards,” Awad said in an interview with The Jordan Times. According to Awad the informal economy is most closely associated with work in which employees do not have any form of social protection. “The expansion of informal labour is an indicator of weak labour policies and weak working conditions,” Awad said. “This is contrary to the various international labour standards, which constitute a fundamental component of human rights. “ “All workers must enjoy full and fair labour rights,” Awad added. *JT

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Amman Bourse opens trading with drop

[8/4/2019 4:13:39 AM]

AMMONNEWS - The Amman Stock Exchange(ASE) on Sunday opened trading with a drop to 1,868 points from its yesterday's closure of 1,870 points. The market index fluctuated in the first 15 minutes of today's session between 1,867 points and 1,870 points with a trading volume of JD1.2 million.

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Jordan’s Central Bank decreases interest rates by 25 basis points

[8/1/2019 9:28:38 AM]

AMMONNEWS - The Central Bank of Jordan (CBJ) has decided to decrease the interest rates on its various monetary policy instruments by 25 basis points as of Sunday, August 4, 2019. In a statement released by the CBJ on Thursday, the decision to decrease interest rate took into consideration all regional and global monetary developments, and aims to stimulate domestic consumer, investment spending, which will have a "positive" impact on economic growth rates. The CBJ's decision comes in light of the low inflation rate, which is expected to remain so during 2019, in addition to the "noticeable" improvement in the balance of payments, the low trade balance deficit, and the positive developments in the monetary indicators, including high deposit rate and facilities in the private sector, and the "comfortable range" of the bank's foreign reserves. The CBJ's Open Market Operations Committee decided to keep concessional financing rates unchanged at 1.7 % for projects located in the capital city Amman and 1 % for projects located in other governorates.

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Trade minister, Iraqi parliamentary delegation discuss mutual cooperation

[8/1/2019 6:18:44 AM]

AMMONNEWS - Minister of Industry, Trade and Supply, Tarek Hamouri, discussed with an Iraqi parliamentary delegation representing Iraqi Lower House's Services and Construction Committee, Kathem Hamami, the mechanisms to enhance joint cooperation and overcome the challenges and obstacles facing the joint agreements and projects between the two countries. During their meeting on Thursday, the two sides stressed the importance of conducting a periodic review on the implementation of the agreements signed recently between the two countries, in order to find suitable solutions to any obstacles. The minister said bilateral meetings were held during the past few days to check into the progress in all dossiers, adding the joint agreements constitute a "great" economic opportunity for both sides. "Both sides agreed on clarifying some issues to help them to increase the movement of joint economic exchange," he pointed out. On prospects of pushing ties further, he said: "We believe in the importance of cooperation and coordination to address the economic issues and challenges that have contributed significantly to slowing the growth rates of the two brotherly countries," adding:" we have the will and determination to push ahead with the steps on cooperation to serve the two countries' peoples despite the challenges". On the outcome of the King's visit to Bagdad, the minister noted Jordan and Iraq have made great strides in enhancing the bilateral relations, reflected in the recent Royal visit to Iraq and the high-level official exchange visits, which culminated in agreeing on a number of important agreements and vital projects announced during the official meeting between the two countries' prime ministers at the Karama - Trebil crossing in February, which would push forward bilateral relations and "positively" reflect on serving the two countries and peoples.

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Japan offers $15.7 mln to promote Aqaba's border security

[7/31/2019 9:06:50 AM]

AMMONNEWS - The Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation on Wednesday signed a $15.7 mln grant agreement with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to fund the security enhancement project at Aqaba port border centers. The agreement was signed by Minister of Planning and International Cooperation and Minister of State for Economic Affairs, Dr. Mohammed Al-Ississ and Representative Director of JICA-Jordan, Chie Miyahara, in the presence of Japanese Ambassador in Amman Hidenao Yanagi and Director General of Jordanian Customs, Abdulmajid Rahamna. The project aims to enhance the Aqaba Customs' security procedures to safeguard the Kingdom's security, the citizens' safety and the national economy, through the electronic inspection, in a bid to accelerate the goods transport movement, and to slash the customs clearance time. During the signing ceremony, Al-Ississ said JICA's grant comes in response to the request submitted to the Japanese government to ease the Kingdom's burdens by providing X-ray inspection equipment at the border crossing points at Aqaba Customs Directorate. Jordan attaches great importance to its bilateral relations with Japan and voices its keenness to reach closer ties through the development of cooperation mechanisms in a number of areas of mutual interest at various political, social and economic levels, the minister pointed out. For his part, the Japanese envoy affirmed his government's commitment to continue to provide various financial and technical support programs to Jordan in various fields of mutual interest and to contribute to strengthening bilateral relations between the two friendly countries.

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Fuel prices go up in Jordan in August

[7/31/2019 9:15:24 AM]

AMMONNEWS - Fuel Pricing Committee in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources decided to increase fuel prices for next month. During its regular meeting, the Committee reviewed the prices of international oil derivatives and Brent crude during July and compared them to the prices last June, where a remarkable increase was noticed. The committee said in a statement that this remarkable increase reflected on the fuel prices in Jordan. The prices of 90-octane gasoline will be increased by 25 fils, to JD 775 fils per litre instead of 750 fils, while the prices of 95-octane gasoline will increase by 30 fils to 1000 fils per litre instead of 970 fils. Diesel prices will be up by 15 fils to 605 fils per litre instead of 590 fils per litre.

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