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)
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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.


Libya’s GNA govt detains 35 Egyptian fishermen

Updated 12 August 2020

Libya’s GNA govt detains 35 Egyptian fishermen

  • The GNA is still holding the fishermen without a clear accusation to justify their detention

CAIRO: The fate of at least 35 Egyptian fishermen hangs in the balance after they were arrested by the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) on Nov. 2 last year.  

The families of the fishermen have appealed to the Egyptian government to step up their efforts to secure their freedom as Cairo has been working on their release since November.

Little is known about the fate of the fishermen in Libya other than their location, after it was leaked to Egyptian authorities that they were held in the Turmina Prison, which is affiliated with the GNA.

The head of the Fishermen’s Syndicate in Kafr El-Sheikh, Ahmed Nassar, said they had not been able to communicate with the fishermen since last November and after their disappearance they came to learn that the GNA authorities had detained them.

The GNA is still holding the fishermen without a clear accusation to justify their detention. Nassar said that the fishermen were not fishing in Libyan territory without a permit.

Nassar explained that the fishermen were working on Libyan boats. Alongside them were a number of colleagues working on boats that belong to the Al-Wefaq government. They were not approached by anyone unlike their detained colleagues who were arrested and sent to prison without being charged with any crime.

The Fishermen’s Syndicate chief said that people had called on the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as the government, and the consular section had also been contacted about the matter.

Many of the detained fishermen come from Kafr El-Sheikh, while others come from Abu Qir in the governorate of Alexandria.

The fishermen had been supporting families of up to eight members.

Egyptian authorities say they are exerting great efforts to bring the fishermen back safely, while the fishermen’s families continue to demand safety and justice for the men.