Jordan’s cabinet approved a JOD9.25 billion (USD13 billion) budget for 2019 as part of a reform of public finances to ease the country’s record debt burden and spur economic growth hit by conflict in the region.
The budget, which will be sent to parliament for approval, envisaged a deficit equal to 2 percent of Jordan’s gross domestic product.
The main features of the draft law indicate that the general revenues were estimated at USD12.14 billion with USD11.29 billion as domestic revenues and USD850 million dinars as foreign grants.
Spending of 2019 was estimated at USD13.04 billion, a rise of USD616 million compared to the current year.
The current expenditure increase was 3.3 percent compared to 2018 in what was attributed to normal growth in expenditure related to the annual increase in the salaries of public employees, the increase in allocations of the National Aid Fund, and an upgrade in the share of the healthcare system.
The deficit in the 2019 budget amounted to USD910 million after grants, constituting 2 percent of GDP, down from USD1.15 billion in the re-estimated value for 2018 at 2.7 percent of GDP.
The draft law estimated an increase in financial solvency indicators for the coming year’s budget coverage for public expenditures from 80.1 percent re-estimated value in 2018 to 86.5 percent in 2019. The draft budget law saw a rise in domestic revenues to cover 100 percent of current expenditure, up from 90.8 percent re-estimated value this year.
Jordan’s public finances are under strain and the government is struggling to curb a public debt of more than USD37 billion, equivalent to 96 percent of GDP.