On behalf of the International Monetary Fund, I congratulate His Majesty King Abdullah II and the Jordanian people on the Centenary Anniversary of the founding of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. I also wish them Ramadan Mubarak.
I just had a very constructive discussion today with Jordanian Finance Minister Mohamad Al-Ississ and Central Bank of Jordan Governor Ziad Fariz. I commended them on the strong reform progress made under the IMF-supported program, despite the significant challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The authorities have responded quickly and decisively to support Jordan’s economy in the wake of the pandemic. Timely and targeted fiscal measures have helped protect jobs and the vulnerable, while equitable tax reforms – aimed at tackling evasion, closing loopholes, and broadening the tax base – have helped maintain debt sustainability. At the same time, a sizable monetary stimulus has supported the recovery, while financial stability and adequate reserve buffers have been preserved.
Continued efforts to address high unemployment (especially among youth and women), advance electricity sector reforms, boost business competitiveness, and strengthen governance and transparency are needed to deliver durable, jobs-rich and inclusive growth.
The Fund is committed to helping the authorities in these efforts to contain the economic and financial impact of the pandemic and build a stronger and more resilient economy. In this context, on March 30, the IMF staff and Jordan reached staff-level-agreement on the second review under the Extended Fund Facility, including supporting the authorities’ request for a US$200 million augmentation, which would raise Jordan’s access to IMF resources to around US$1.95 billion over 2020-24. I expect this request will be presented to the IMF’s Executive Board in the near future.
Robust, timely and scaled-up donor assistance for supporting the authorities’ ambitious reform agenda will be critical to help Jordan protect the lives and livelihoods of its citizens and the large number of refugees it so generously hosts. In particular, I want to recognize Jordan’s open vaccination program which provides access to citizens and refugees alike and emphasize the need to help the Jordanian authorities in this vital effort.