Hosting refugees costs Jordan billions — experts

(File photo: Jude Taha/Jordan News)
AMMAN — Economists interviewed by Jordan News agree that the international community has failed to help Jordan’s efforts to care for Syrian refugees, which made the Kingdom incur billions in losses.اضافة اعلان

They also believe that the international community needs to be made aware of this and lend more support to Jordan, in a manner that reflects positively on citizens and refugees alike.

Academic and economic researcher Mohammad Al-Hadab told Jordan News that the cost of hosting Syrians cost Jordan’s economy “about $44 billion, of which the international community provided only $10 billion, and the local economy bore the rest”.

The direct cost, he said, “is estimated at $2.2 billion to $2.8 billion annually, at a total of $19.4 billion in the period from 2015 to 2022”.

According to a study presented by UNDP in 2016, the indirect cost amounts to “about $24 billion in eight years, at a rate of $3.1 to $3.4 billion annually,” Hadab added.

“Perhaps the indirect effect is more worrying than the direct effect,” explaining that this is the case “because we usually pay attention to the tangible results and neglect what will happen after a few years, when the citizen will witness the indirect impact in a noticeable way”.

By way of example, he talked about “some schools (that) have begun to adopt the morning and evening shift system, and thus, the expected depreciation life of these schools will decrease significantly”.

According to him, Jordan’s GDP has decreased; “the growth rate before the Syrian refugees was 5.5 percent, while it was 2 percent in the period from 2010 to 2022”.

“As for unemployment, the indicators show that it stood at 12.5 percent in 2010, but reached about 25 percent in 2021,” he added.

Hadab said that the international community has failed Jordan, in regard to the Syrian refugee file, and urged the government to show the world evidence and economic indicators that should be taken into consideration.

He stressed that the purpose of showing these figures is not to give the idea that refugees are not wanted in the Kingdom, but rather “to send a message to the international community that Jordan needs to be supported economically, in a manner that reflects positively on both citizens and refugees”.

Economic adviser and former president of the Banks Association Adli Kandah said there is “no doubt that the world has turned its back on the Syrian refugee crisis, especially on host countries such as Jordan”.

According to him, funding for the Jordanian response plans stood at 64 percent in 2018, 50 percent in 2019, 49 percent in 2020, 30 percent in 2021, and 13 percent in 2022”.

“Therefore, the remaining cost of Syrian asylum is incurred by the Treasury, and this constitutes a great burden on the Jordanian economy, health, education, infrastructure, jobs and others,” he pointed out.

Part of the funding for Syrian refugees is usually given to support refugees, directly, and part goes to the host communities, he added.

“I think that part of the funding should also be distributed to sectors such as health, education, the Ministry of Social Development, in addition to the municipalities that host refugees,” he said.

CEO of the Envision Consulting Group and former minister of state for economic affairs Yusuf Mansur agreed that international aid for Syrian refugees is in decline, but said that the figures regarding the direct and indirect impact of hosting refugees “may be exaggerated”.

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