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Jordan delegates succeed in slashing IMF reviews

By JT - Oct 12,2014 - Last updated at Oct 12,2014

AMMAN – The Jordanian delegation to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) meetings in Washington have managed to reduce the remaining country reviews to three.

Finance Minister Umayya Toukan, who heads the delegation, announced Sunday that the fifth review of the performance of the national economy under a correction programme overseen by the fund, was completed, adding that the reduction in the number of IMF reviews has secured the country with $129 million from a loan of around $2 billion, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

In a related development Sunday, a senior IMF official described the draft income tax law –– being discussed in Parliament –– as a step towards reform but it can be rendered more ambitious to achieve fiscal consolidation. 

Masood Ahmed, director of the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia Department, was quoted by Petra as saying that the income tax bill should have focused more on reducing tax exemptions for individuals, adding that tax exemptions in Jordan are of the largest in the region. 

Ahmad was speaking on the sidelines of the IMF meetings. 

Tax reform means that taxpayers should take their fair share in reducing public debt in Jordan and should also prevent tax evasion by large firms and individuals, he added, describing tax exemptions as pointless. 

Ahmed said that the government is still committed to implementing the economic reform programme supported by the IMF, particularly in the fields of energy and public finance as well as monetary policies.   

He said the programme entails also improving the business environment. 

In regards to the government’s plan to bring the state-owned electricity company to cost recovery, Ahmed said the new power strategy still aims at protecting the poor and diversifying energy resources in the Kingdom. 

The IMF official stressed the importance of encouraging and empowering the private sector to create more jobs for Jordanians, adding that the current size of the government in Jordan can no longer accommodate job seekers the way it used to do in the past. 

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