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| 04 December, 2017

US provides Jordan $475mln in direct grant to support public budget

The critical and direct support to our budget will help us in bridging the fiscal gap: minister

Image used for illustrative purpose.
A bank employee counts U.S. hundred dollar bills at Kasikornbank in Bangkok January 21, 2010.

Image used for illustrative purpose. A bank employee counts U.S. hundred dollar bills at Kasikornbank in Bangkok January 21, 2010.

REUTERS/Sukree Sukplang
AMMAN — Planning and International Cooperation Minister Imad Fakhoury on Sunday said a $475 million direct grant will be directed to support priority projects including the 2017 public budget, which will help in reducing the budget’s deficit.

“This critical and direct support to our budget will help us in bridging the fiscal gap as well as in meeting some of the expenses incurred by Syrian refugees on the budget,” Fakhoury told a press conference.

Fakhoury's remarks came during the signing ceremony of the Cash Transfer Agreement at the ministry’s headquarters with Mission Director of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) Jim Barnhart.

The Cash Transfer Agreement of $475 million is implemented under the Economic Support Fund for Jordan for 2017, according to Fakhoury, totalling $812 million.

“The rest of the economic support [$337 million] will be used to support economic development, the social sector and democratic accountability,” Fakhoury said.

He expressed the Kingdom’s appreciation for the US government and the US Congress for “their continued support for Jordan”, adding that the signing of the deal yesterday “reflects the advanced level of relations between the two sides”.

The minister stressed the importance of the assistance, stating that “it has had a clear impact on Jordan's development process in various sectors”.

“USAID remains the number one donor, and, indeed, a key partner in our development, modernisation and reform processes over the years,” the official said.

Fakhoury emphasised that the Kingdom achieved many success stories with the support of USAID, adding that “significant achievements and key reforms have been made over the past years in various priority areas, notably water, environment, health, education, private sector development, enhancing the business climate, tourism, energy, youth, good governance and poverty alleviation”.

For his part, Barnhart stressed his country’s commitment to supporting the Kingdom, citing over 60 years of long-term partnership with Jordan, which, he said, “aimed at supporting economic stability, strengthening democratic governance, and developing the delivery of basic services to meet the needs of Jordanian citizens”.

“The cash transfer demonstrates the US government’s faith in the government of Jordan’s systems and processes to achieve further gains in sustainable development and long-term resiliency,” Barnhart said.

The US official underlined that the assistance has helped Jordan provide one-third of its population, or more than 2 million people, with access to fresh water and sanitation services.

“Healthcare services have improved for thousands of people through the renovation and modernisation of more than 400 clinics and hospitals across Jordan and 1 million students have had a better learning experience made possible through improved infrastructure and teacher training,” according to Barnhart.

Bilateral trade has increased by 800 percent following Jordan’s accession to the World Trade Organisation and the implementation of the US-Jordan Free Trade Agreement, the US official noted.

Barnhart also praised Jordan’s pivotal role in reform, modernisation and comprehensive development programmes led by His Majesty King Abdullah as well as Jordan’s “great humanitarian role” towards refugees, which contributed to making the Kingdom a model for the region and the world.

“We are proud of the partnership that America has with the people of this country and their government for our mutual prosperity and security,” Barnhart concluded.

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