AMMAN --- August 9, 2012 --- His Excellency Mr. Sulaiman Al-Hafez, Jordan Minister of Finance, reviewed Jordan’s economic situation and the critical corrective measures that the government has taken lately, during the meeting of the executive committee of the Economic Policy Development Forum (EPDF) that was chaired by HE Dr. Talal Abu-Ghazaleh, in the presence of the President of the Economic and Social Council HE Dr. Jawad Al-Anani, Vice President of the Forum MP Ms. Reem Badran, and the executive committee members: HE Dr. Khalid Al-Wazni, HE Mr. Sameer Murad, HE Dr. Hashem Gharaybeh, HE Dr. Ali Madadha, HE Mr. Nabeel Talhouny, and HE Mr. Hasan Abu-Nimah.
During the meeting, Minister Al-Hafez explained the corrective measures that were included in the National Fiscal Reform Program as required by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This five-year program, the minister said, aims at a growth rate that will reach 4.5% at the end of the 5-year program, is a modest though a realistic figure in the minister`s opinion.
As a result of the corrective measures the IMF Executive Directors’ Board approved credit facilities for Jordan of about two billion US dollars to contribute bridging the monetary gap. That shows the international institutions’ confidence in the Jordanian economy, the Minister explained.
Al Hafez stated that the government’s policy is to present the facts to the people as they are. This may have some negative impact, but still much milder than the harmful consequences of hiding such facts.
Moreover, Al-Hafez stressed that one of the government’s priorities is to focus on the “Energy” sector and to take strategic measures to avoid sudden energy crises that may result from fluctuating international prices.
The Minister stated that this program represents the general frame for reform, and that it will be followed by reform strategies targeting long term remedies in some of the most crucial economic sectors like: water, energy, health, education, public works, recruitment and labor, unemployment, poverty combating, and assuring the best ways to deliver assistance to the needy of it, hence, the reform of these sectors will be the main base of this program.
Al-Hafez added that the Forum’s last year’s analysis of the budget’s structural imbalance, and the confusion of figures proved to be true, as the estimates of the foreign aid proved to be unrealistic, and the revenue projections were based on hypotheses that proved to be wrong too.
He added that the calculation of the deficit must be counted after having taken into consideration that the grants are not a part of revenue, hence, the deficit must be calculated before adding anticipated, but not certain, foreign aid.
Al-Hafez emphasized the importance of continued cooperation between the Forum and the government for presenting ideas and suggestions needed to boost fiscal reform. During the meeting of the EPDF's Executive Committee, it was agreed that the cooperation and exchange of ideas between the Forum and the Economic and Social Council on one hand and the government on the other continues, as it would support the government’s trend towards fiscal reform.
The Minister urged the concerned parties, including the Forum, to present ideas, studies and suggestions that would be beneficial in all areas of fiscal reform.
One of the most important remarks made by the Minister was that we in Jordan live beyond our means, and we consume more than we produce, therefore the five-year program for fiscal reform is proceeding in the right direction.
The Economic Policy Development Forum (EPDF) was established in June 2011 as an independent initiative. The Forum's mandate is to study and revise reports submitted on economic issues and to conduct its own economic studies and research in Jordan.
The Forum has quickly achieved prominent presence on the economic arena. It has attracted participants from all national sectors in addition to experts, researchers and future leaders whom Jordan is replete with. They have come together in this voluntary national endeavor with a sense of responsibility as well as positive commitment to identify weaknesses and vulnerabilities in the country's economic structure and to recommend remedies.