Gov’t committed to structural reform, prudent approach to debt reduction — PM

Kingdom’s debt service dropped by JD25 million in 2021

Prime Minister Bisher Al-Khasawneh. (File Photo: Ameer Khalifeh/JNews)
(File photo: Ameer Khalifeh/Jordan News)
AMMAN — Prime Minister Bisher Al-Khasawneh has said that Jordan’s debt-to-GDP ratio currently stands around 90 percent, emphasizing that his government is committed to effecting structural reform, and is pursuing a prudent approach to debt management and reduction.اضافة اعلان

The prime minister, speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the Arab Small and Medium-sized Business (SMEs) Summit, which opened Sunday in Amman under the theme “Opportunities beyond borders”, said that the Kingdom’s debt service dropped by JD25 million in 2021. “We have not seen this downward trajectory in many years”, and the government is taking “firm steps” to address the issu, he saide.

Khasawneh, who deputized for Crown Prince Hussein, said that Jordan’s foreign exchange reserves have reached a new high, of around $17 billion, and that international rating agencies have either maintained or raised Jordan’s credit ratings.

The premier also indicated that the Kingdom’s wheat and barley reserves are sufficient for 13 and 8 months, respectively, and that his government is pursuing prudent policies to strengthen the Kingdom’s resilience in the face of global market challenges.

Regarding the recent Cabinet reshuffle, Khasawneh said its goal was primarily to ramp up efforts toward achieving economic and political reforms, as well as public sector reform.

Arab ministers, representatives of various business sectors, and more than 100 SMEs are attending the summit, which is being organized by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) in collaboration with the Jordan Enterprise Development Corporation.

The event, the first of its kind in the region, will discuss mechanisms for assisting Arab small and medium-sized businesses in accessing regional and international markets, securing financing, and increasing their expansion capacity.

Minister of Industry, Trade, and Supply
Youssef Shamali stated that access to financing is a challenge for SMEs in the Arab world, noting that the proportion of banking facilities provided for these projects does not exceed 9 percent of the total bank facilities.

He also cited the absence of robust regulatory frameworks required to streamline the SME sector as a further obstacle.

To address these challenges, Shamali added, Jordan launched a national strategy for financial inclusion, with one of its main goals being to improve small and medium-sized businesses’ access to finances. The Kingdom succeeded in increasing financial inclusion from 33 percent in 2017 to 50 percent in 2020.

UN Under-Secretary and ESCWA Executive Secretary Rola Dashti said that the summit serves as a platform that brings together those looking for funding, training and technology, and those who have the capacity and resources to meet those needs.

She also stated that SMEs’ annual employment rates remain low when compared to those of large corporations, emphasizing that SMEs can play a critical role in achieving higher and more comprehensive economic growth, particularly in securing new job opportunities for young people, serving as an effective driver of change and development.

The three-day summit will cover topics such as global expansion, market access and global value chains, access to finance, green entrepreneurship, and emerging trends in technology. It also features an exhibition where approximately 100 SMEs display their product.

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