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Government may enact budget bill as temporary law

By JT - Jan 06,2013 - Last updated at Jan 06,2013

AMMAN — The government has consulted the Constitutional Court for its legal opinion on endorsing the 2013 draft budget law as a temporary law, Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour said on Sunday.

The step comes because a delay in the endorsement of the law is expected to negatively affect the financial development plan for 2013, Ensour noted during a meeting with senators, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

The premier said a delay in the endorsement of the budget law will prevent the government from spending on capital projects that are financed through the Gulf Development Fund.

Such a delay is expected to come about because the upcoming parliament will take some time to elect its permanent office members and committee members, prior to the budget endorsement, Ensour added.

The 2011 amendments to the Constitution limit the issuance of temporary laws to a set of identified cases including those when public expenditures cannot be delayed.

The Gulf Development Fund is extending financial support to Jordan through contributions from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar totalling $5 billion in a period of five years, for the implementation of development projects.

The premier made these remarks during an informal meeting with Senate members to brief them on the draft state budget law and the draft law on the budgets of independent government agencies for 2013 in preparation for the next stage during which it will be submitted before the Lower House for endorsement, in accordance with the Constitution.

Jordan has already received the contributions set for this year from three Arab Gulf countries, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE.

Last week, the Cabinet endorsed the draft budget law.

Minister of Finance Suleiman Hafez said JD6.21 billion of the total budget figure is allocated for current expenses, while the remaining JD1.246 billion is allocated for capital expenses.

Under the envisaged budget, public revenues are expected to reach around JD6.146 billion, of which foreign grants represent JD850 million, according to the minister.

Subsequently, the budget deficit is calculated to reach around JD1.31 billion or 5.4 per cent of the gross domestic product.

Hafez said next year’s budget is in conformity with the country’s economic and financial reform programme and works to control current expenditures, which are around 2.1 per cent lower than the 2012 figure.

A large tranche of the budget is channelled towards development projects as evident from the figure on capital expenditures which posts a growth by 76.6 per cent. These funds will be used to finance vital energy, water, transport and governorate development projects, the minister explained.

The projected budgets of independent government units stand at around JD1.880 billion, distributed into JD1.137 billion and JD743 million in current and capital expenses respectively.

Revenues from the 63 government units are estimated to reach around JD762 million, of which government support represents around JD264 million and external grants JD79 million. 

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