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Economic performance below expectation

Nov 29,2015 - Last updated at Nov 29,2015

The fiscal and economic indicators listed in the 2016 budget document show that financial and economic performance during this year (2015) will, in general, be below the most conservative expectations.

As far as economic growth is concerned, the Ministry of Finance expects the rate to drop from 3.1 per cent in 2014 to 2.7 per cent in 2015, while the rate was expected to reach 3.7 per cent.

The gross domestic product (GDP) in current prices is expected to rise during 2015 by only JD1.5 billion or 5.8 per cent, while public debt will rise by 9.4 per cent, an indication that indebtedness is growing faster than the economy.

This means that public debt will rise in 2015, not only in absolute figures, but also as a percentage of GDP.

As a result of the above, the ratio of debt/GDP will rise by 2.8 percentage points to hit 83.6 per cent, instead of stabilising, as was envisaged by the economic reform programme in its third and last year.

Total expenditure in 2015, as re-estimated, will be 1.5 per cent lower than in 2014, yet the deficit in the 2015 budget will rise from JD583 million in 2014 to JD915 million, a 57 per cent jump in the wrong direction.

If these developments were not enough, share prices at the Amman Stock Exchange dropped by 7.5 per cent.

Receipts from tourism, dropped by 9 per cent, exports declined by 6 per cent, unemployment rose by 2.8 percentage points and the number of Syrian refugees is rising by the day, and with it the cost of accommodating them, to which the international community is not contributing more than 38 per cent.

To be fair and balanced, the picture of the economy should be completed by listing the positive points and highlighting the excuses and possible justifications, which are mostly the difficult regional circumstances, especially the events in Iraq, Syria and Palestine.

This job is left to the official government speaker and to the related official institutions, which so far believe in the wisdom of silence.

Some feeling of comfort may come about from the fact that despite everything, Jordan is, by far, in better shape than all other countries in the region from political economic, social and security point of view.


Under the circumstances, perhaps the government can claim that things could have been much worse had it not been for the measures taken to alleviate challenges.

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