Discussion session on financial and investment policies
On Wednesday 19/6/2019, Jordan Strategy Forum hosted H.E. Dr. Rajai Muasher - Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State, and H.E. Dr. Ezzidin Kanakrieh - Minister of Finance; in a discussion session on Financial and Investment Policies, and Ways to Stimulate Growth & Sustain Stability. JSF members and representatives of the economic sector in Jordan attended the discussion. The event was sponsored by Ahli Bank, Jordanian Duty Free Shops, Ernst and Young and Pepsi.
Muasher said that the government is gearing up towards controlling exemptions, which amounted to approximately JD1 billion in 2018, as per efforts to reduce public expenditures. He further explained that economic and social reform needs to be a national concern, calling for the involvement of all parties and stakeholders in formulating relevant programmer and policies. "Public revenues cannot be boosted unless the economy is stimulated and obstacles facing investment are eliminated," he said.
Muasher also briefed participants on the government's efforts to remove obstacles hindering investments, including high energy and transportation costs. The minister explained that eliminating obstacles facing investment is more important than the incentives given to various sectors, adding that awarding incentives must be linked to performance indicators such as exports and employment.
Kanakrieh said that most of the public spending goes as salaries, pensions and debt service. He added that the government is working on reaching the point at which public revenues cover current expenditures. Kanakrieh said that new technologies, including e-cigarettes and electric cars, have had their impact on changing consumption patterns and, consequently, decreasing public revenues.
JSF CEO Ibrahim Saif said that the national economy has seen improvement over the past 18 years, adding that the GDP grew from an estimated JD6 billion in 2000 to JD29.98 billion in 2018. Saif stressed that Jordan should think of a comprehensive economic policy to improve the performance of the Jordanian economy instead of focusing on improving fiscal policy alone. Saif also highlighted some promising economic sectors that will help stimulate economic growth and job creation in the country.
During the session, participants discussed with the ministers the financial policy in Jordan and the challenges facing the Jordanian economy, and made some remarks about the laws and legislation concerning the business and investment environment in Jordan.