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Gov't measures work, reflect on economic indicators –– PM .

Friday, January 31, 2020

Amman, (Petra) –– Prime Minister Omar Razzaz said that despite regional geopolitical challenges, Jordan has developed a matrix of integrated actions over five years that began to pay off, and that tangible progress was made in "our economic indicators in 2019."

"We are forging ahead with restructuring our national economy in the medium term in order to be able to bear the various burdens imposed by the conditions in the region, particularly the repercussions of the Syrian refugee crisis on Jordan," Razzaz said in an interview with the CNBC Arabia Television at the World Economic Forum in Davos last week.

He said in the interview, which was aired Monday evening, that Jordan realized that it had to put its house in order economically, with a focus on Jordanian youth, its key resource and wealth, through empowering them to enter public life and the labor market.

The premier reviewed the key indicators the economy had made in a host of sectors, pointing to the growth in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector, which reached 11 percent, compared with an estimated 2 per cent economic growth in the region.

He referred to a "significant growth" in the sector's export services, which are mainly remote services that Jordan provides to companies in the Arab Gulf states and Europe.

"Our national exports have grown by 9 per cent through encouraging small- and medium-sized enterprises to export and benefit from the international agreements (the Kingdom signed)," he pointed out.

The tourism sector had also witnessed a growth of about 10 per cent as a result of low-cost air travel to Jordan as large tourist groups began arriving to visit tourist attractions, the prime minister said.

Razzaz also said Jordan had advanced to the 29th rank in the Doing Business Report, just as it ranked fourth globally in the ease of getting credit, having advanced from rank 134th.

"These figures did not come from a vacuum, but were the result of steps and measures taken by the government to improve the business environment," he said, adding that the government had the ambition to achieve more in the five-year scheme.

The prime minister said that Jordan is in a volatile region and it had taken the brunt of the refugee crisis as the Kingdom "warmly" received large numbers of displaced Syrians in the past decade, who now live "among their families and brothers". But such circumstances had placed pressure on the Jordanian economy and the labor market, he pointed out.

He said that the countries of the region and the world should help Jordan bear the burden of refugees as the annual cost of hosting them amounts to $2.4 billion, according to World Bank estimates, and added that Jordan had only received 62% of the cost in 2018 and 42% in 2019.

He voiced his fear that the issue of Syrian refugees will be "marginalized", stating that the refugees "are still present on our land, and that those are the builders of the future of Syria," pointing to the directives of His Majesty King Abdullah II not to leave a Syrian child or any child of any other nationality outside of education and healthcare.

Razzaz called on the world, particularly brotherly Arab countries, to help Jordan "in this critical stage" as the Kingdom forges with real and drastic economic reforms that will contribute to creating job opportunities, increasing exports and launching future mega projects.