IMF team agrees on $1.3bn, 4-year aid package for Jordan

Jordanian officials reached an agreement with the International Monetary Fund on a $1.3 billion, four-year aid program, which was announced Thursday. (Reuters)
Short Url
Updated 30 January 2020

IMF team agrees on $1.3bn, 4-year aid package for Jordan

  • Loan will help government bring down public debt and spending
  • IMF hopes loan will support economic growth in the country

WASHINGTON: Jordanian officials reached an agreement with the International Monetary Fund on a $1.3 billion, four-year aid program to help authorities stabilize the economy, the IMF announced Thursday.

The loan, which must be approved by the board of the Washington-based crisis lender, will help the government bring down public debt and spending gradually while supporting economic growth, as the country hosts an influx of Syrian refugees the IMF said in a statement.

The aid program “will reinforce the authorities’ ambitious macroeconomic and structural reform agenda for the next four years,” IMF mission chief Chris Jarvis said.

The government program is focused on "enhancing the conditions for more inclusive economic growth, particularly in light of the challenges posed by ongoing regional conflict and uncertainty," he said.

That includes steps to reduce tax evasion and improve the investment climate, while boosting growth. Among the key reforms the government will reduce electricity prices for businesses and shift household subsidies to benefit "only to those who need it," Jarvis said.

"In addition, the authorities will introduce measures to help young people and women enter the labor force."

GDP growth is projected to reach 2.1 percent in 2020 and increase gradually in the coming years to 3.3 percent. Inflation will remain subdued in 2020, at under 1 percent, but is expected to rise 2.5 percent over the next few years, he said.


Kuwait vows to cut migrant population to 30%

Updated 37 min 9 sec ago

Kuwait vows to cut migrant population to 30%

DUBAI: The Kuwaiti government said it wants to cut the migrant proportion of its population from 70 to 30 percent to address what it called a population discrepancy. 
State media quoted the country’s prime minister saying that the state of Kuwait was facing a “big challenge” in its population structure and that it shall start relying on its citizens to replace foreign workers. 
Out of 4.8 million inhabitants, some 3.3 million are foreign nationals and 1.45 million are Kuwaitis, said Prime Minister Sabah Al-Khaled al-Hamad al-Sabah.
"The ideal demographic situation would be that Kuwaitis make up 70 percent of the population and non-Kuwaitis 30 percent," he said.
"So we face a big challenge in the future which is to address the discrepancy in population."
He said there were 75,000 foreign domestic helpers in the country, which equal half the population of Kuwaiti nationals. 
“We rely on our sons and daughters to work in all professions,” Al-Sabah added.

Kuwait has a large foreign population mostly made up of Middle Eastern and Asian workers.

Kuwait Airways said last week it would lay off 1,500 expatriate employees due to "significant difficulties" caused by the pandemic.