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MPs continue deliberations over draft budget bill


The Jordan Times


AMMAN — The Lower House is expected to vote on the 2019 state budget draft law and the budgets of independent public institutions this week, Speaker Atef Tarawneh said on Monday. 
MPs continued their deliberations over the budget law and the budget bill for independent public institutions on Monday, with the need for more measures to alleviate citizens’ financial burdens topping most of the lawmakers’ demands.
On December 4, the government submitted the 2019 state budget draft law to the House, with an estimated budget deficit of JD646 million after foreign grants.
Lawmakers called on the government to revisit tax policies to alleviate citizens’ financial burdens, while, at the same time, taking serious steps towards combating tax evasion, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.
MPs also called for implementing income-generating and infrastructure projects in the country’s underprivileged regions in Zarqa, Ajloun, Karak, Irbid, Mafraq, Northern and Southern Badia regions and in east Amman.
Expanding the terms of the the general pardon law to include fines, university students’ debts and indebted women was also another major demand of lawmakers, according to Petra.
Other deputies called on the government to revisit the cybercrime law, expressing their respect for “citizens’ civilised protests” against corruption and economic policies. 
For some MPs, combating all forms of corruption, protecting public money and curbing public expenditures is a major priority towards improving standards of living and addressing budget deficit.
Other lawmakers called for cancelling the 1994 Wadi Araba Peace Treaty and terminating the gas deal with Israel, according to Petra. 
The deficit in the 2018 budget is expected to amount to 2.7 per cent of GDP by year end, compared with 2.6 per cent in 2017, while the total public debt is expected to total around JD28.4 billion by the end of 2018, constituting 94.5 per cent of GDP.
According to the 2019 state budget draft law, GDP is expected to increase by 2.3 per cent, 2.5 per cent and 2.7 per cent in 2019, 2020 and 2021 respectively.
The state budget statement submitted to the House estimated the volume of local revenue in 2019 to reach JD8.01 billion, with an increase of 14.8 per cent from 2018, with the reason primarily attributed to the rise in tax and non-tax revenues by 15.9 per cent and 12.9 per cent, respectively.
Tax revenues are estimated, for the entirety of 2019, at JD5.273 billion, of which income tax revenue would constitute JD3.61 billion, customs revenue JD365 million, property sale tax JD110 million, while non-tax revenues are estimated at JD2.737 billion.  

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