Jordan finance minister says IMF approves US$1.3b reform programme

The IMF's approval of Jordan's programme was testimony to the macro-ecomomic stability of a country where regional conflict in recent years has weighed on investor sentiment. — Reuters pic
The IMF's approval of Jordan's programme was testimony to the macro-ecomomic stability of a country where regional conflict in recent years has weighed on investor sentiment. — Reuters pic

AMMAN, March 26 ― Jordanian Finance Minister Mohammad Al Ississ said yesterday the IMF board had approved a four-year US$1.3 billion (RM5.7 billion) extended fund facility programme that signalled confidence in the country's reform agenda at a time it was taking measures to cushion its economy from the fallout of coronavirus.

Al Ississ said in a statement sent to Reuters that the progamme's approval would help his country get more donor and investor funds in the coming period as it pushes forward major structural reforms.

“It signals confidence in Jordan's economic reform process, and support for our efforts to mitigate the impact of the virus on vulnerable economic sectors and individuals,” Al Ississ said.

Officials are worried the crisis that has hit the thriving tourist sector, which generates around US$5 billion annually, will slash growth projections and deepen an economic downturn and a slowdown in domestic consumption.

The monetary and fiscal authorities have taken a series of measures from injecting over US$700 million in liquidity to reducing interest rates and delaying bank loan installments and customs and tax payments to help soften the negative impact.

The IMF's approval of Jordan's programme was testimony to the macro-ecomomic stability of a country where regional conflict in recent years has weighed on investor sentiment, Al Ississ said.

Al Ississ said late last year a new IMF deal would help the country secure concessional grants and loans at preferential borrowing rates to ease annual debt servicing needed to reduce the debt to GDP ratio.

Public debt has shot up by almost a third in a decade to 30.1 billion dinars in 2019, equivalent to 97 per cent of GDP. ― Reuters

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