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2020 budget is ‘realistic’ — Finance minister

Al-Ississ stresses gov’t dedication to give boost to citizens

By JT - Jan 18,2020 - Last updated at Jan 18,2020

Mohamad Al-Ississ

AMMAN — The key to improving economic conditions is to acknowledge the reality of the situation and gradually work towards reaching financial and economic stability by stimulating growth and creating jobs, Finance Minister Mohamad Al-Ississ said on Friday.

During an interview with Jordan Television's “60 Minutes” programme, Al-Ississ said that the 2020 budget is “realistic”, noting that allocating JD330 million for salary raises reflects the government's keenness to improve the living conditions of citizens, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

The minister also said that this year's budget does not include any tax increases, while the government is looking to reduce taxes in a gradual way.

He also mentioned that the initial deficit in the budget was reduced from 3.1 to 2.3 per cent of the gross domestic product. 

As for not lowering the tax rate on other basic commodities besides the 76 that were recently announced during the Lower House's deliberations over the budget, Al-Ississ said that the reason is because other basic items are already exempt from taxes.

Pertaining to local revenues, the minister said that the government has examined them in a "scientific way" and adopted serious polices to curb tax and customs evasions. 

Meanwhile, he stressed that the government tries to make the best use of Treasury revenues and disburse them with its priorities in mind.

The Finance Ministry has estimated that the value of foreign grants for 2020 will be the same as 2019, despite some indicators that further grants will be received, Al-Ississ said.

He added that the rise in public debt is “worrying” to the government and citizens alike, noting that Jordan has absorbed external shocks with an estimated value of $17 billion over the past 10 years, which exacerbated its financial burdens.

Regarding for the current visit of a team from the International Monetary Fund to the Kingdom, Al-Ississ said that Jordan has embarked on negotiations with the fund about a new programme to realise development goals and achieve financial control. 

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