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IMF says ties with Jordan 'very deep', commends reforms

By Mohammad Ghazal - Oct 19,2019 - Last updated at Oct 19,2019

People arrive for the IMF/World Bank Annual Fall Meetings Plenary Session in Washington, DC, on Friday (AFP photo)

WASHINGTON, DC — The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) relations with Jordan is “very deep” and the government's reform agenda is progressing, the global lender's Director of the Middle East and Central Asia Department Jihad Azour said. 

 “We have been supporting Jordan with two consecutive programmes. In addition to our support, we were able to mobilise the international assistance that Jordan needs,” Azour said in response to a question by The Jordan Times during a press conference Friday on the sidelines of the fund’s fall meetings.

On priorities Jordan needs to adopt at this stage, he said that it was important for the Kingdom to pursue two tracks in its economic reform programme.

“One is to strengthen macroeconomic stability which will allow Jordan to reduce any pressure on the public finance, allow the economy to attract investors and on the other hand address some of the structural issues,” he said.

“One of them is the reform of the energy sector, in particular, the reform for the electricity company, NEPCO.  Improve the business environment, reduce the cost of labour, as well as also the cost of energy; this will help Jordan benefit from its full potential in serving various markets in the region,” Azour said.

In August 2016, to support the Kingdom’s economic and financial reform programme, the IMF Executive Board approved a three-year extended arrangement with Jordan under the Extended Fund Facility for an amount equivalent to SDR514.65 million (about $723 million, or 150 per cent of Jordan’s quota).

The scheme aims at advancing fiscal consolidation to lower public debt and implementing broad structural reforms to enhance the conditions for more inclusive growth.

During the presser, he referred to the London initiative held in February this year, adding that the role of the fund was instrumental in the last conference that took place in London in mobilising the support that helps Jordan address macroeconomic stability issues, as well as attracting investments to promote growth.

In May this year, the IMF Executive Board announced the completion of the second review of the country’s economy and approved Jordan’s request for a waiver of non-observance of performance criteria on the net international reserves of the Central Bank of Jordan, extending the arrangement until March 2020 and rephasing access.

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