Senate passes state, gov’t units budget draft laws by majority

‘Our national economic model must be realistic, free of illusions and dreams’ — Ississ

(Photo: Ameer Khalefih/Jordan News)
AMMAN — Jordan’s Senate has approved Sunday, by a majority, the draft laws on the general budget and the budget of government units for the 2022 fiscal year as referred from the Lower House, in preparation for their endorsement by a Royal decree and then publication in the Official Gazette to start spending, Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.اضافة اعلان

The Senate, during an evening session, chaired by its Second Vice-President, Rajai Muasher, and in the presence of Cabinet members, also approved 36 recommendations presented by its Finance Committee on the two budget bills, while two senators only voted against the two draft laws.

At the beginning of the session, the Upper House listened to the government’s response to the senators’ remarks, delivered by Finance Minister Mohammad Ississ, then senators voted on the two draft laws, in accordance with the Constitution (Article 112).

Closing the session, Muasher stressed the importance of revisiting government economic policies, adding that financial and economic reforms should not affect citizens’ lives, but must contribute to accelerating growth, and protecting the middle class.

Muasher also called for revamping investment-related laws, and creating a single body to process investors’ transactions, stressing the Senate’s keenness to cooperate and coordinate with the government to speed up progress in various fields.  He thanked “brotherly and friendly countries” for their support to Jordan, especially the Arab Gulf Cooperation (GCC) states.

The total estimated expenditure in the general budget bill stands at JD10.6 billion, while about JD1.5 billion are allocated to government units. Revenues in the general budget are estimated at JD8.9 billion, whereas government unit revenues are about JD860 million.

Minister of Finance Mohammad Al-Ississ said that the government is dealing with the economic reality in a clear objective manner, “which means that our national model must be realistic, free of illusions and dreams,” according to local media outlets.

During 2022, the government will initiate some infrastructure projects, most notably the national water carrier project, as well as the first stage of the Jordan National Railway Project, according to Ississ.

The minister spoke about the Higher Public-Private Partnership Commission’s approval to proceed with the submission of two bids to construct 15 public schools, in addition to the construction of buildings, freight yards and passenger terminals for the new border crossing of the King Hussein Bridge, all of which are listed in the government’s 2021-2023 economic priorities program.

The Senate finance committee recommended to develop and follow-up on a comprehensive economic recovery program for the next five years, as well as to devise a long-term strategy to address public debt and rebalance taxes.

Ississ said that the government will carry out quarterly checks on revenue and public expenditure, and monthly budget implementation reports for the purpose of timely decision-making.

Ississ noted that many countries in the developed world are experiencing economic growth at varying levels, however, the US Federal Bank is expected to raise interest rates in several stages during 2022, which will have a negative impact on recovery levels worldwide, therefore creating an additional challenge for Jordan.

“Just as world economies have barely caught their breath from the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, the recent Russian-Ukrainian crisis deepened the complexities of the economic scene, the degree of uncertainty and the prospects for global economic growth,” Ississ said.

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