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Cabinet endorses draft 2015 budget with JD688m deficit

By JT - Nov 01,2014 - Last updated at Nov 01,2014

AMMAN — The Cabinet has endorsed the draft state budget law for 2015, with a slight expansion of 3.2 per cent in spending and an estimated deficit of JD688 million.

The draft law was sent to Parliament on Saturday, one day before His Majesty King Abdullah inaugurates its ordinary session, Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour said at the opening of the Sixth Government Leaders Forum. 

The draft law includes "some important issues", Ensour said, among them is that the government's estimates of lower spending and higher revenues for 2014 were met as projected by budget planners. 

The government has also promised that there will be no budget supplements and kept the promise, the premier added.   

According to a briefing by Finance Minister Umayya Toukan to the Council of Ministers on the main outlines of the draft law, public spending for next year is estimated to reach JD8.096 billion, up by JD255 million over public expenditure re-estimated for 2014, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

Toukan said the deficit before foreign financial assistance is expected to stand at JD1.8 billion, dropping to JD688 million with the assistance. 

Domestic revenues in the draft law are projected to reach JD6.28 billion compared with JD5.7 billion re-estimated for 2014, while overall revenues, domestic and grants, are forecast to be around JD7.4 billion, Petra quoted the minister as saying. 

Current spending over the re-estimated figure for 2014 would go up by 2.9 per cent to JD6.9 billion, according to Toukan, who attributed the rise in spending to the natural increase in the salaries of public sector employees. 

He said capital spending would go up by 5.3 per cent to JD1.1 billion, representing around 14.5 per cent of overall expenditure. 

The draft state budget law for next year was prepared according to precise estimates for revenues and expenditure, and it is also in line with the government strategy to control and boost the efficiency of public spending, Toukan added. 

According to the budget estimates, the gross domestic product is projected to expand by 4 per cent next year and 4.5 per cent in 2016 and 2017. 

Inflation is forecast to drop to 2.4 per cent in 2015, down from 3 per cent expected by the end of this year. 

The Cabinet also endorsed the draft budget law for 59 independent public agencies that employ around 34,500 people, Petra said. 

Revenues of these agencies are estimated to reach JD814 million compared to JD710 million in 2014, while their spending is expected to be around JD1.6 billion, down from JD1.8 billion in 2014. 

The deficit of these agencies, minus the National Electric Power Company and the Water Authority of Jordan, is projected to stand at JD218 million after government support and grants. 

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