‘Abu-Ghazaleh Knowledge Forum’ Hosts Minister of Planning in a Virtual Session Entitled ‘Post-Corona Economic Recovery’
AMMAN - Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Knowledge Forum (TAG-KF) hosted HE Dr. Wissam Rabadi, Minister of Planning & International Cooperation, in a digital session entitled ‘Post-Corona Economic Recovery’, conducted in a live broadcast through the Forum’s Facebook page.
During the session, the Minister stated that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic forced the government to rearrange its priorities placing citizens health and protection of employees working in the most affected sectors on the top of its list. The government also considered as priority the settling of Jordan’s dues and repaying debts owed to international funding agencies as well as focusing on investing in sectors which proved their efficiency, including the agricultural and agro-industrial, pharmaceutical and medical equipment sectors, Rabadi said.
Rabadi expected that the most prominent effect of the pandemic would be the increase in the budget deficit up to JD2.5 billion as a result of significant decrease in tax revenue due to the closure of the economic sectors. At the same time there was a substantial increase in government expenditure on healthcare and social protection.
Additionally, Rabadi pointed out that the greatest challenge facing the government is to secure the required financing, adding that liquidity is a paramount necessity to help the government recover economically and cover its expenses and obligations in addition to supporting other productive sectors.
Rabadi continued to say that the government is currently leading a special economic reform program through a special unit at the Ministry operating on a matrix of economic reforms in coordination with different ministries and government departments.
The Minister also emphasized that the Ministry strives to achieve sustainable and comprehensive development in Jordan by working with Jordan's development partners, donors, international financial institutions and local organizations to provide the necessary funding through grants, soft loans and technical assistance to implement vital programs and projects; all in accordance with the government's development plans and programs.
Furthermore, the Ministry, according to Rabadi, coordinates the distribution process of available funds to the various development programs and projects based on geographical and sectoral basis in cooperation with donors and international financial institutions.
During the session, Rabadi noted that the Ministry oversees foreign funding directed to civil society institutions through a committee that includes members of different concerned authorities and stakeholders of each sector. The Ministry also helps various societies to secure the necessary grants and funding to establish productive projects, create jobs and achieve development.
Furthermore, Rabadi reviewed the crises that badly impacted Jordan’s economy starting from the Global Financial Crisis in 2008, the Arab Spring and its consequences, the disruption of Egyptian gas supply, energy problems, the Syrian refugees and the closure of border crossings with Iraq and Syria which negatively affected Jordan’s exporting capacity.
He also pointed out that the government, throughout that period, worked on several reform programs in cooperation with the International Monetary Fund and achieved major reforms which anticipated economic growth (GDP) to rise from 2.1% in 2020 to 3.4% in 2024, noting that COVID-19 has hit the world economies including Jordan causing a recession of 3.7%.
Rabadi announced that the government signed a $200 million agreement with the World Bank with the aim of increasing job opportunities for the Jordanian youth and expanding government digital services. He announced a number of upcoming projects to be conducted by several international donor institutions in the fields of competitiveness, supporting entrepreneurship and empowering women and youth.
On the other hand, Rabadi expected that many Jordanians may have to return home due to Corona crisis and the current economic conditions that negatively affected countries especially in the Gulf region, pointing to the need for investing in these human capitals, encouraging them to invest in the Kingdom, and providing them with stimulating environment.
It is worth mentioning that the meeting, which was moderated by Mr. Fadi Daoud, the Executive Director of TAG-KF and Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Global (TAG.Global) Education and Youth Consultant, has gained great attention and interest from many people, during which Rabadi answered all questions and inquiries.
For his part, Daoud pointed out that the digital virtual session with Minister Rabadi was organized as part of a series of digital meetings and talks in the time of Coronavirus.