Jordan finance ministry says 2021 growth depends on continued economic activity

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Jordan hopes its growth will rebound to 2.5 percent in 2021 from a 3 percent contraction in 2020 after economic activity was hit by lockdowns, border closures and a sharp fall in tourism during the coronavirus pandemic, the finance minister said.

Mohammad Al Ississ told parliament in a budget speech that the 2021 forecast, which was in line with International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates, depended on the country continuing to reopen.

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“This forecast depends on the assumption of continued economic activity without imposing any lockdowns, if the contrary happens, this growth estimate will not be achieved,” Al Ississ told deputies.

The gradual reopening of most of Jordan’s key business and manufacturing activities since last summer had helped its economy to reverse earlier IMF estimates of a severe 5 percent contraction.

The country’s public finances and balance of payments have been strained by the collapse of tourism and lower remittances from workers overseas with unemployment soaring to a record 22 percent due to bankruptcies and layoffs.

Al Ississ also said the main goal of this year’s 9.9 billion dinar ($14 billion) state budget was to maintain fiscal prudence to help ensure financial stability.

Jordan’s commitment to IMF reforms and investor confidence in the country’s improved outlook helped it to maintain stable sovereign ratings at a time when other emerging markets were being downgraded, Al Ississ said.

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