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Forecast 2013 budget deficit at least JD800m

By Omar Obeidat - Dec 27,2012 - Last updated at Dec 27,2012

AMMAN — Overall spending in the 2013 state budget is estimated to be around JD7.4 billion, an informed source said Thursday.

The projected deficit in the government’s spending bill, expected to be finalised soon, is around JD800 million after including foreign grants, while by excluding foreign assistance, the deficit is estimated to reach JD1.3 billion, said the source, who requested anonymity.

At a meeting with media representatives and economic columnists, Finance Minister Suleiman Hafez indicated that after re-estimating the deficit in 2012 budget, the fiscal shortfall would reach over JD1.5 billion by the end of this year.

Hafez noted that capital spending in next year’s budget would reach JD1.25 billion, up from JD755 million in 2012 budget, saying a gradual increase in capital spending would go up to JD1.5 billion by 2016.

He said that raising capital expenditure aims at stimulating the Kingdom’s slow economic growth to reach 4.6 per cent by 2016.

The minister stressed that 2013 budget would focus on self-reliance as it would include raising domestic revenues while controlling current expenditure.

The budget was prepared on the assumption that the average price of crude oil in international markets at $100 per barrel, according to Hafez. 

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