Representatives of Jordan’s private sector said they were unhappy with the outcome of a fiscal and economic reform program the Jordanian government has been implementing in cooperation with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
They said the Stand-by Arrangement program has added more challenges to the country’s investment environment, which is already deeply hit by turmoil in the region, Al Ghad daily reports.
The program, under which the Jordanian government increased taxes, will have a direct adverse impact on several economic sectors, the representatives said in a seminar held in Amman in which IMF officials were present.
They said the program, started in 2012 and set to finish later this year, targets a growth rate of six per cent but this figure is not in line with the government’s ten-year plan.
Furthermore, they added that the program pushed the Jordanian government to increase fuel prices, but this move impacted national exports at a time when trade with the kingdom’s neighbours continues to reel under massive pressure from regional upheaval.
Jordan IMF Mission Chief Kristina Kostial defended the program and said it helped the government readjust the state’s budget by introducing strict controls on public expenditure without affecting the economic security of citizens.
She also said that program enabled Jordan to withstand shocks arising from the unrest sweeping the region, namely a massive influx of refugees and disruption of natural gas supply from Egypt.