The Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, Dr. Ja'far Hassan said last year was the worst since the early nineties due to the high costs of energy and electricity production.
Hassan added in a lecture delivered at the University of Jordan today at the invitation of the Faculty of International Studies and Political Science that high oil prices, disruption of Egyptian gas, regional condition and slowing growth rates since 2009 all led to the emergence of economic and financial challenges contributed to cause a decline in growth and increased current expenditures.
However - Hassan - noted in his speech to possible gradual improvement of the economic in Jordan this year due to increased capital spending through grants and its impact on the development sectors, in addition to the gradual decrease of the budget deficit from 7.6% to 5.5% and the work on development projects in the provinces and the implementation of projects that contributes to solving energy challenges, notably importing natural gas via the port of Aqaba.
The minister pointed to the government's consideration to sustain foreign investment, especially in industry and services sectors in addition to not to focus on investment in real estate sector, stressing that investment is an urgent need to contribute to lifting up growth levels in health, education, transport and infrastructure areas.
The international community must bear the costs of hosting the Syrian refugees, especially those who live in cities and villages, Hassan stressed, pointing in this regard to the presence of about half a million refugees in the Jordanian cities, which in part increased spending in areas of education, health and social development.
Hassan predicted the entry about 180 thousand displaced Syrian during the next few months, which exacerbates the spending requirements visit the Syrian refugees.
Hassan revealed the positive achievements of the Provincial Development Fund, in the establishment of productive projects that contribute to the reduction of poverty and unemployment.
The Provincial Development Fund is an initiative launched by His Majesty King Abdullah II to encourage collaborative work in the provinces through the establishment of profitable projects, especially for young Jordanians, he stated, noting in this regard that the indicators demonstrate the success of this experiment noting it is introduced for the first time in the state budget of the current year.
During the lecture, moderated by Dr. Zaid Iyadat, Dean of the Faculty of International Studies and Political Science, Hassan replied to questions and interventions on the economic and financial challenges facing Jordan and how to overcome them.
The minister identified in his answers that there is no immediate solution to the energy issues and said the regional situation is unpredictable, especially the Syrian file, in addition he added that providing incentives to encourage investors will increase their activity in the Kingdom taking into consideration the political stability and security Jordan maintains in the Arab region.