Lower House Listens to State Budget Draft Law Speech

تم نشره في Sun 26 November / Nov 2017. 01:00 AM - آخر تعديل في Sun 26 November / Nov 2017. 08:40 PM
  • Minister of Finance Omar Malhas


AMMAN — The Lower House of Parliament on Sunday listened to the state budget draft law speech delivered by Finance Minister Omar Malhas.


During a session, which was chaired by House Speaker Atef Tarawneh and attended by Prime Minister Hani Mulqi, the minister also presented forecasts for the independent government agencies' allocations of 2018.


The minister said that the government took into consideration in the draft law, the financial and monetary stability as well as improving the performance of the national economy to achieve the aspired growth rates.


"In order to achieve this objective, the government took a series of measures to reduce current and capital expenditure in the 2018 budget," Malhas added.


The government he said, also worked to strengthen the social security network and take the proper mechanisms to ensure that subsidies are better directed to those who deserve them. "The 2018 general budget includes a new item known as, "the social security network/ cash subsidies to those who deserve them" valued at JOD171 million," the minister added.


The minister said that cash subsidies will be directed to all Jordanian households, whose annual income does not exceed JOD12,000 and JOD6,000 for individuals provided that they do not own 2 private vehicles or more, or plots of land or property the value of which do not exceed JOD300,000.


On the economic growth rate, the minister said the economic growth in 2018 is expected at 2.5 per cent, 2.7 per cent in 2019 and 2.9 per cent in 2020, adding that the inflation rate is expected to decline to 1.5 per cent in 2018 compared to 3.3 per cent now.


Malhas said that growth in the first half of 2017, and the expected growth until the end of 2017 which will reach 2.3 per cent, is not sufficient to create job opportunities to address the problem of unemployment that currently stands at 18.1 per cent.


He said the government will follow up on measures to improve tax collection, prevent tax evasion and stiffen penalties on tax evaders.


The minister said reform measures that will be taken by the government such as controlling spending and the gradual reduction of tax exemptions, are expected to lead to an increase in revenues by JOD540 million in 2018.


On local revenues for 2018, Malhas said that are estimated at JOD8.496 billion compared to JOD7.715 billion in 2017, noting that current expenditure will reach JOD7.886 billion while capital expenditure will stand at JOD1.153 billion.


"The value of projects to stimulate economic growth are estimated at JOD426 million in 2018," Malhas added.


The finance minister said that the budget deficit after foreign grants will reach JOD543 million in 2018, a decline by JOD209 million compared to 2017.


On government agencies, Malhas said that their revenues are estimated at JOD1.664 billion compared to an expected spending of JOD1.812 billion or a deficit of JOD148 million.


He said deficit of the central government and government agencies will decline in 2018 to JOD831 million compared to JOD1.035 billion in 2017, adding that the government will continue the implementation of the financial and structural reform program it had adopted in order to increase economic growth and achieve financial and monetary stability in the Kingdom.


On investment, the finance minister said that the government will continue work to improve the business environment and facilitate measures to create a relevant climate, adding that the investment road map for Jordan is a main pillar to achieve development.


On the monetary situation, Malhas said that foreign reserves at the Central Bank of Jordan reached USD11.7 billion and are sufficient to cover imports of goods and services for 7 months.


He said the public debt stood at JOD27.1 billion at the end to October representing 95.3 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).


The minister said that public debt will reach 93.6 per cent of the GDP in 2018 and will decline to 90.3 per cent and 86.2 per cent in 2019 and 2020 respectively.