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IMF to begin its 2nd review of Kingdom’s economy today

By JT - Jan 27,2019 - Last updated at Jan 27,2019

AMMAN — An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission is scheduled to start a visit to the Kingdom today to conduct the second review of the national economy’s performance, the Finance Ministry announced on Saturday. 

In a statement carried by the Jordan News Agency, Petra, the ministry said that the visit is part of a process related to the financial and structural reform programme that Jordan implements in coordination with the global lending institution.

The members of the mission are due to meet with Finance Minister Ezzeddine Kanakrieh, Central Bank of Jordan (CBJ) Governor Ziad Fariz and technical officials at the ministry and the central bank, as well as other officials in relevant public departments.

The ministry said it is expecting the IMF’s technical team to begin preparatory meetings on Sunday at the ministry and the CBJ, anticipating the visit to the Kingdom to last for two weeks.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Omar Razzaz met with IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde during a visit to Washington, during which they discussed the latest developments in the IMF-backed fiscal reform programme.

Jordan and the IMF signed a 36-month, $700-million Extended Fund Facility (EFF) programme in 2016, under which the two sides agreed on six conditions that aim at reducing public debt to safe levels and stimulating the economy. 

The controversial Income Tax Law, which went into effect at the beginning of this year, is part of fiscal reforms under the programme and its endorsement was a necessary step for conducting the second review of the economy under the EFF programme.

Jordan’s debt-to-GDP ratio dropped last year for the first time in a decade, to 94 per cent compared with 94.3 per cent at the end of 2017, Prime Minister Omar Razzaz said earlier this week. 

The overall public debt stood at JD28.6 billion by the end of last October, according to the Finance Ministry’s latest figures. 

Following her meeting with Razzaz, Lagarde said in press remarks that sustaining fiscal consolidation remains critical to preserve macroeconomic stability, “which needs to be supported by a faster implementation of reforms to promote jobs and investment and lower business costs”.

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