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'Gov't seeks to control exemptions as per efforts to reduce public spending'

New consumption patterns impacted public revenues — minister

By JT - Jun 20,2019 - Last updated at Jun 20,2019

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State Rajai Muasher speaks during a roundtable discussion held by the Jordan Strategy Forum on Wednesday on financial and investment policies (Photo courtesy of Jordan Strategy Forum)

AMMAN — The government is gearing up towards controlling exemptions, which amounted to approximately JD1 billion in 2018, as per efforts to reduce public expenditures, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State Rajai Muasher said on Wednesday. 

Muasher’s remarks were made during a roundtable discussion held by the Jordan Strategy Forum (JSF) on financial and investment policies, which also hosted Finance Minister Ezzeddine Kanakrieh.

Muasher explained that economic and social reform needs to be a national concern, calling for the involvement of all parties and stakeholders in formulating relevant programmes and policies, a statement from the JSF said.

"Public revenues cannot be boosted unless the economy is stimulated and obstacles facing investment are eliminated," he said. 

Muasher briefed participants on the government's efforts to remove obstacles hindering investments, including high energy and transportation costs, the statement said.

The minister explained that eliminating obstacles facing investment is more important than the incentives given to various sectors, adding that awarding incentives must be linked to performance indicators such as exports and employment. 

Kanakrieh said that most of the public spending goes as salaries, pensions and debt service, according to the statement.

He added that the government is working on reaching the point at which public revenues cover current expenditures, according to the statement. 

Kanakrieh said that new technologies, including e-cigarettes and electric cars, have had their impact on changing consumption patterns and, consequently, decreasing public revenues.

JSF CEO Ibrahim Saif said that the national economy has seen improvement over the past 18 years, adding that the GDP grew from an estimated JD6 billion in 2000 to JD29.98 billion in 2018.

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