Reducing Jordan's debt to 77% of GDP by 2021 is key target: minister says

30-06-2016 07:44 AM

Ammon News - AMMONNEWS - The main goal is to reduce Jordan’s debt to 77% of GDP by 2021, and we’re discussing how can we achieve that ", Finance Minister Omar Malhas told Oxford Business Group (OBG).

In a wide-ranging interview with the group, the minister mapped out the country's plans to introduce a programme of far-reaching structural reforms as a means of countering the many economic challenges it faces.

Malhas said that the global publishing, research and consultancy firm that exogenous shocks had taken their toll on Jordan’s economy, with public debt now at a "critical" level.

"We cannot continue with the same economic model," he explained. "We need to adapt it to fit with modern times." The full interview with Malhas will appear in "The Report: Jordan 2016", OBG’s forthcoming report on the kingdom’s economy. The report will also contain a detailed, sector-by- sector guide for investors, alongside contributions from leading personalities.

Malhas said that new fiscal measures would target boosting GDP and improving the country’s competitiveness in a bid to attract higher levels of foreign investment.

The kingdom is also looking to decrease its reliance on foreign aid, targeting self-sufficiency by 2018, he added.

"This is an important issue for Jordan, since last year, our revenue reached only 94% of total expenditure," the minister noted. "Unfortunately, we remain exposed to exogenous shocks.

However, we are hoping that the economy will grow at a higher percentage than it did last year." Changes to Jordan’s income tax law were among the reforms expected to help raise revenue, he further added.

Structural reforms will include over 20 actions that are being mandated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in order for the Kingdom to meet the criteria to receive support via the international organizations' Extended Fund Facility (EFF).

Malhas was confident that the EFF would help Jordan to achieve stronger economic growth. "We are targeting an EFF program of at least three years which combines fiscal measures with structural reforms," he said.

"The Report: Jordan 2016" will be a vital guide to the many facets of the country, including its macroeconomics, infrastructure, banking and other sectoral developments. The publication will be available in print and online.

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