Jordan to push ahead with IMF-backed reforms to spur growth -finance minister

AMMAN, Feb 14 (Reuters) – Jordan will accelerate the momentum of IMF-backed structural reforms in 2022 to help a nascent recovery gather pace in an economy hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic and regional turmoil, the finance minister said on Monday.

Mohamad Al Ississ told lawmakers ahead of a parliamentary session which passed the 10.6 billion dinars ($15 billion) 2022 budget that Jordan could ill afford any delay in reforms.

“The process of reform and dealing with the distortions and imbalances is more pressing and necessary than ever,” he said in a speech ahead of a vote on the budget.

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The IMF said in January after the kingdom completed a third review of an ambitious four-year $1.5 bln programme that the country’s progress in reforms was helping maintain macroeconomic stability while supporting a nascent recovery.

The return to 2 % growth last year after a steep 1.5 %contraction in 2020, the worst in decades from the impact of the pandemic, showed “signs of economic recovery,” Al Ississ said.

Growth was expected to reach 2.7 % in 2022, signalling an end to the recession and back to pre-pandemic levels.

Al Ississ, who won praise from the IMF for what it said were sound fiscal reforms that closed tax loopholes and broadened the tax base and generated the biggest revenue gains in many years, said the budget deficit had fallen by 453 million dinars to 5.4 % of GDP in 2021 against 7 % the previous year.

The deficit was…

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