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‘Treasury set to receive boost this year as significant funds expected’

By Omar Obeidat - May 11,2014 - Last updated at May 11,2014

AMMAN — Finance Ministry Secretary General Omar Zu’bi on Sunday described the budget performance as encouraging, saying the Treasury will receive hundreds of millions during this year in grants and low-interest loans.

In an interview with The Jordan Times on the sidelines of a high-profile regional conference to discuss policies that can generate jobs and lead to better growth and equity in the region, Zu’bi explained that the Finance Ministry is scheduled to launch the second US-guaranteed $1 billion Eurobonds by the end of June in international financial markets.

He said that the interest rates on the sovereign bonds are likely to be lower or around the 2.5 per cent interest rates the bond issuance carried in October last year.

He said that the budget is also set to receive next week the Macro-Financial Assistance soft loan from the European Union, which is worth 180 million euros (JD177 million). 

The agreement of the medium-term loan was signed by the government and the EU in Brussels mid-April. 

Indicating that the government has recently received $264.7 million from the International Monetary Fund under a three-year programme supported by a Stand-By Arrangement, the official pointed out that the government is expecting to receive $250 million from the World Bank in the form of a soft loan to support the Kingdom’s budget and another $120 million from Japan in a long-term, low-interest loan.

Zu’bi said that Jordan will receive around $1 billion in financial and economic assistance from the US late this year. 

“The short-term fiscal conditions are promising as we feel comfortable with the volumes of grants and cheap lending we expect to receive this year,” the official said, expressing hope that the budget deficit will be lower than the JD1.1 billion projected by the government. 

Zu’bi said that measures to control spending and raise domestic revenues will help improve the budget performance. 

Domestic revenues are picking up to exceed the government forecast for this year, he added.   

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