Jordan's UN role: $508M gap as response falls to 22.3%, committee finds

Zaatari refugee camp
(File photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN – On Wednesday, the Parliamentary Financial Committee stated that Jordan has seen a decline in the international community's response to its UN role in raising contributions and bearing the burdens of refuge, as it "did not cover the annual cost" after covering 22.3 percent of Jordan's total requirements to respond to the Syrian crisis.اضافة اعلان

By the end of November 2023, the volume of financing for the Syrian crisis response plan had reached $508 million, with a financing rate of 22.3 percent, Al-Mamlaka TV reported.

It stated in its report, the draft general budget law for 2024, that "despite not covering the annual cost and its decline" year after year, the reaction "did not cover the annual cost."

According to the committee's report, the response to the Syrian refugee crisis cost JD359 million last year, which was distributed to $243 million to support the refugees, accounting for 67.7 percent of the total value of the response, confirming that each host received JD13.5 per month when divided by the total number of refugees.

Out of the $2.276 billion in plan requirements, the committee explained that contributions to host community projects totaled JD94 million, or 26.1 percent of the response's value, in addition to JD22 million for general budget support, or 6.1 percent.

The committee stated that it did a cost-response analysis, and its findings show that the energy sector's support for the refugees amounted to JD240 million over two years, while the cost of hosting the students is close to JD150 million per year.

According to the report, "the contribution to covering the cost of the refugees is close to JD15 annually at a rate of JD1.3 per month," dividing the value of the response to the treasury, which amounted to JD22 million, by the number of refugees.

Regarding unemployment, the committee stated that the refugee crisis, particularly the Syrian refugee crisis, contributed to rising unemployment rates, despite the international community's contribution to the response to the cost of refuge for host communities or the World Bank's contribution, even once, to increase national aid for deserving families.

According to the results of the third quarter of last year, Jordan's unemployment rate reached 22.3 percent, a 0.8 percent decrease from 2022, when unemployment rates among males were 19.8 percent, a 0.7 percent decrease, and females were 31.7 percent, a 1.4 percent decrease.

The committee estimates that there are 90,000 registered and unregistered Syrian workers, and despite the government's incentive to symbolically issue work permits, the main justification for not doing so was the concern that international organizations would stop providing cash assistance to refugees.

It stated that the official employment rate does not cover 28 percent of Syrian families' labor needs, confirming that the Syrian employment rate, if available to Jordanian citizens, will contribute to lowering the unemployment rate to 12 percent and providing an annual income of JD686 million, which is equal to the Jordanian minimum wage. It contributes to economic sector growth as well as actual GDP growth.

It also stated that it may help to halt national aid for 50,000 families, worth an estimated JD55 million.

The committee explained that an increase in the number of people who meet the requirements for national assistance to 30,000 allowed refugees to "live decently and safely" for a category of them despite the crowding out of citizens in the labor market as a result of the lower value of the salary as a result of combining the lower income of the workers and adding it to the aid. Jordan must cover them in its general budget for 2025–2026.

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