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    10-May-2017

‘US aid to Jordan totals $1.3 billion in 2017’

 

The Jordan Times

 

AMMAN — Prime Minister Hani Mulki on Tuesday met with a delegation of US congressional aides to discuss Washington's assistance to Jordan, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported. 
 
During the meeting, Mulki stressed the strategic partnership between Jordan and the US, expressing appreciation for Washington’s support for the Kingdom, which, he said, helps reduce the pressure on the national budget and allows the implementation of development projects.
 
The prime minister outlined the repercussions of the regional instability resulting from the Syrian crisis, especially the hosting of 1.3 million Syrians, which has put significant strain on the Kingdom's resources and state budget, along with the education, health, and infrastructure sectors, apart from military and security burdens.
 
The premier noted that the government's economic plan for the next five years aims to stimulate growth in vital fields and reduce the public debt.
 
The energy sector has played a large role in the mounting debt, as the country has depended on heavy fuel oil to generate electricity, rather than natural gas that used to be imported from Egypt, Mulki noted, adding that the electricity company's debt has increased from JD800 million to JD5 billion over the last two years. 
 
Meanwhile, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Imad Fakhoury on Tuesday met with the US delegation to brief them on the economic challenges facing Jordan, according to a statement from the ministry.
 
He thanked the US for its assistance to the Kingdom in 2017, which amounted to $1.3 billion in recognition of the “pivotal role” of Jordan under the leadership of His Majesty King Abdullah, the statement said.
 
The planning minister stressed the importance of the Jordanian-US  strategic relationship, underlining its positive impact on the Kingdom’s inclusive development efforts through the US assistance programmes over the years. 
 
The $1.3-billion US aid package to the Kingdom in 2017 was approved by the US Congress last weekend.
 
As for US assistance programmes over the coming period, Fakhoury stressed the need to respond to national priorities by renewing the memorandum of understanding governing US aid to the Kingdom for the next five years, with a focus on supporting the budget and specific sectors with a competitive advantage, the ministry statement said.
 
Despite the challenges facing Jordan, including the consequences of hosting Syrian refugees, the government continues work to realise comprehensive reform, Fakhoury said, seeking to achieve prosperity for citizens and enhance Jordan’s resilience, the statement added.
 
The minister highlighted efforts under way, in cooperation with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), to “transform challenges into opportunities” through maintaining macroeconomic and financial stability, citing the development and implementation of the Jordanian Economic Growth Stimulus Programme (2018-2022), based on the Jordan 2025 blueprint.
 
The minister outlined the major areas of reform laid out by the Royal Committee for for Developing the Judiciary and Enhancing the Rule of Law, as well as the continuation of political reform, including strategies for developing human resources, employment and infrastructure (water, energy, transport), combating poverty, increasing social protection and the digital transformation, as well as implementing capital expenditure programmes through public-private partnerships, he said. 
 
The minister and the delegation discussed the upcoming local and municipal elections, the implementation of the Jordan Response Plan to deal with the Syrian crisis, as well as efforts to combat terrorism and extremism.
 
Fakhoury briefed the delegation on recent talks with the IMF delegation, calling on the donor community to consider increasing aid and the size of budget-supporting grants for at least the next five years, the statement added. 
 
For their part, the delegation praised Jordan’s role in the region, and its reform, modernisation and comprehensive development programmes, which, they said, contribute to rendering Jordan a “model in the region”, the ministry said. 
 

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