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Senate passes 2022 draft state budget law

By JT - Feb 28,2022 - Last updated at Feb 28,2022

Senators are seen during an Upper House session on Sunday (Petra photo)

AMMAN — The government deals with the economy through a "clear and objective vision" based on the fact that the national model should be realistic and away from “illusions and wishes”, Finance Minister Mohamad Al-Ississ said on Sunday. 

Replying to senators’ remarks and notes over the 2022 draft state budget law and draft budgets of independent public institutions, Al-Ississsaid that the 2022 budgets reflectthe government policies within a three-year timeframe to speed up economic growth, improve the living conditions of citizens and to create jobs, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

These goals can be achieved by granting the private sector a larger role, diversifying the economy and focusing on stimulating investment in productive sectors with high added value, the minister noted.

He pointed out that this year the government will embark on multiple infrastructure projects, importantly the National Water Carrier Project and the first phase of the National Railway Network.

The minister added that the joint higher committee for public-private partnership has approved a project to develop and construct 15 schools for the Education Ministry, in addition to a project to establish buildings and cargo and passenger yards for the new land border crossing at the King Hussein Bridge under the 2021-2023 economic government priorities programme.

Al-Ississ also pointed out that the government will make quarterly reports on public revenues and expenditures and issue monthly reports on mechanisms to implement the budget.

Addressing senators, the minister said that the 2022 budget was made under unstable economic conditions at the international level, but the government exerted all efforts to preserve financial and monetary stability.

As world economies were “catching a breath” from the repercussions of the pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine crisis emerged to further increase economic uncertainty at global levels.

Al-Ississ added that the 2022 budget was made based on a Royal directive within three main aspects including the improvement of the investment environment, enhancing competitiveness and stimulating employment, and supporting the priority economic sectors for their being projects that lead to increasing economic growth rates and creating jobs. 

In this regard, he noted that the allocations for capital projects under the government priority programme for 2020 reached some JD274 million, or 18 per cent of the total capital expenditure.

“While nobody can deny having deep structural defaults that affected the entire economy, mainly the high unemployment rate of 23.2 per cent during the third quarter of 2021, one should also refer to positive economic indicators that were achieved thanks to the government’s procedures, policies and programmes last year,” he added.

Al-Ississ said that data and facts highlight the “unprecedented” achievement in fighting tax evasion, where the government managed to collect Treasury rights with “high levels of seriousness and institutionalism and deepened legislative reforms”, referring to unifying customs tariffs, where 93 per cent of imports are now subject to customs fees of five or zero per cent.

As for a recommendation to restructure the public sector, the minister said that the government is currently implementing a comprehensive study through a committee that was formed to modernise the public sector, where this study includes a possibility to merge some independent institutions and ministries to enhance the public sectors’ efficiency.

The Senate unanimously endorsed the 2022 draft state budget law and draft budgets of independent public institutions as referred from the Lower House, pending their approval by a Royal Decree and publishing them on the Official Gazette.

The estimated volume of the state budget’s spending in 2022 stands at around JD10.6 billion and independent public institutions’ expenditures at JD1.5 billion.

The state budget’s revenues in 2022 were estimated at JD8.9 billion, out of which 68 per cent is to be generated from tax returns, 10 per cent from foreign grants and 22 per cent from non-tax resources. 

The revenues of the independent public institutions in 2022 are expected to drop by JD100 million, to reach JD860 million.

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