2023 general budget bill contains nothing new — experts

1. Ississ
(File photo: Ameer Khalifeh/Jordan News)
AMMAN — The Cabinet on Wednesday approved the 2023 general budget draft law, estimated by Minister of Finance Mohamad Al-Ississ at JD11.4 billion. اضافة اعلان

The inflation rate for next year, Ississ said, is expected to reach 3.8 percent, while real GDP will grow “at the same rate as in 2022, which is 2.7 percent”.

Yusuf Mansur, former minister of state for economic affairs, said that “there is nothing new in the new draft; domestic revenues cover 92 per cent of the current expenditure, which means that the government will have to borrow in order to cover the current expenditure”, which consists mainly of payments to public sector employees.

This, he said, makes it very difficult for any minister of finance to make significant changes to the public budget.

Mansur added that capital expenditures allocated for new investments form only 2 percent of the general budget. The solution, he said, is to use loans for investments that would stimulate the economy instead of using them only to repay debts.

“Using new loans to repay debts only means accumulating more debt interest,” he said.

Economist Hussam Ayesh described spending on the repayment of debt interest, which makes up 16 per cent of the current expenditures, as “money poured down the drain”. It is money obtained “through pressuring economic sectors and the citizens”, he said.

Ayesh does not agree with considering foreign aid as a source of government revenues, because it “cannot be guaranteed or controlled”, and could affect the total budget deficit.

He said that the budget should be given based on “performance, production, goals, efficiency, quality, and results. Also, it is crucial to review the expenditures taking into consideration the results of the recent report of the Audit Bureau”.

Ayesh asked for changing the public budget draft, to bring it in line with the Economic Modernization Vision.

The 2023 general budget bill was sent to Parliament on Sunday; it is expected to be discussed in the next month.

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