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Senate endorses budget draft law without changes

By JT - Jan 16,2018 - Last updated at Jan 16,2018

AMMAN — The Senate on Monday endorsed the 2018 draft state budget and budgets of independent government units draft laws as referred from the Lower House, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

The endorsement came as the Upper House accepted the recommendations of its Finance and Economy Committee.

During a speech following the vote, Senate President Faisal Fayez said the senators understand the economic challenges that Jordan is passing through which are affecting the livelihoods of citizens due to regional conflicts and the dwindling foreign
aid to the Kingdom 

He stressed the importance of drafting plans and strategies by the government to face the challenges ensuing from the regional situation, achieve self-reliance and encourage investment to stimulate economy.

The bill is now awaiting the King’s endorsement and publishing in the Official Gazette to go into effect. 

The budget was endorsed by the Lower House on January 2 with a majority of 58 votes, in a session that witnessed a boycott of around 30 MPs.

Under the budget law submitted to the Parliament, domestic revenues stand at JD8.496 billion, compared with JD7.715 billion of reestimated revenues in 2017, while current expenditures are estimated at JD7.886 billion and capital expenditures at JD1.153 billion in 2018.

The after-grants deficit in 2018’s budget is expected to sway to around JD543 million in 2018, dropping by JD209 million in the reestimated value in the 2017 budget.

As for government units, revenues are estimated at JD1.664 billion and expenditures at JD1.812 billion with a deficit of JD148 million.

The combined deficit of the central government and government units will drop this year to JD831 million, down from JD1.035 billion in 2017.

The 2018 draft state budget includes, for the first time, a social safety network/cash subsidy with a value of JD171 million to make up for rising cost of living brought about by lifting subsidies. 

The cash support will be directed to each member of the army, security and civil service whose salary is below JD1,500, the government and the deputies agreed, as suggested by the Lower House’s Financial Committee, which studied the budget and made a set of recommendations. 

Other measures the government has agreed to include cancelling two conditions set originally for individuals to be eligible to receive the cash support, namely, the family should not own two cars or more and/or real estate worth JD300,000 and more. 

Otherwise, all Jordanian families whose total annual income does not exceed JD12,000 and individuals whose annual income is not more than JD6,000 will be eligible to receive the cash subsidy, estimated for each individual at around JD36 annually. 

The corrective measures to be implemented by the government, including public expenditure control, will increase revenues by JD450 million in 2018, according to the budget statement.

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