Jordanian Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Asas announced that his country aims to reduce public debt service, through a new program that it intends to implement with the International Monetary Fund.
He said that the benefits of public debt constitute a large proportion of current expenditures, and that regional factors have caused the debt to rise by about a third in ten years, to reach $ 42 billion this year.
The International Monetary Fund says that public debt is still high, and that economic growth has been affected by high unemployment and regional conflicts. The Jordanian public debt is about 100% of the gross domestic product.
The minister said that talks with the IMF on a new program to replace the extended fund facility that expires next March will focus on efforts to stimulate the slow growth that has hovered around 2% in the past ten years.
Al-Assas said that the new deal with the IMF would help the cash-strapped country to "obtain grants and soft loans in order to reduce public debt service and enable the government to increase the competitiveness of the national economy."
According to the IMF, economic growth in Jordan has been affected in the past few years by the high unemployment rate and the effects of regional conflict on investor confidence.
The Jordanian minister presented the government's budget letter for 2020 to the House of Representatives, estimated at 9.8 billion dinars (14 billion dollars).
Parliament will start discussing the draft budget that was expansionary in its expenditures, in contrast to previous budgets, especially as it included an increase in salaries for public sector employees by about six hundred million dollars.