Prime Minister Says Jordan’s Debt-to-GDP Ratio Is 90% | Company
Ammon News – Prime Minister Bisher Khasawneh said Jordan’s debt-to-GDP ratio was currently around 90%, stressing that his government was committed to structural reform and was pursuing a prudent approach to debt management and reduction.
The prime minister told reporters on the sidelines of the Arab SME Summit, which opened on Sunday in Amman under the theme “Opportunities beyond borders”, that the Kingdom’s debt service fell by 25 million JD in 2021, adding, “We haven’t seen this downward trajectory for many years. We are taking firm steps in this direction.”
Khasawneh, who opened the event on behalf of Crown Prince Al-Hussein bin Abdullah, said Jordan’s foreign exchange reserves had reached a new high of around $17 billion and international rating agencies had either maintained or upgraded Jordan’s credit rating.
The Prime Minister also indicated that the Kingdom’s wheat and barley reserves are sufficient for 13 and 8 months, respectively, and that his government is pursuing prudent policies to strengthen the Kingdom’s resilience in the face of global market challenges.
In response to a question about a recent cabinet reshuffle, Khasawneh said it was mainly aimed at stepping up efforts to achieve economic and political reforms as well as public sector reform.
Arab ministers, representatives from various business sectors and more than 100 SMEs are taking part in the summit, which is organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) in collaboration with the Jordan Enterprise Development Corporation ( JEDCO).
The event, which is the first of its kind in the region, will discuss mechanisms to help Arab small and medium enterprises access regional and international markets, obtain financing and increase their capacity for expansion.
Minister of Industry, Trade and Supply, Youssef Shamali, said access to finance is a challenge for SMEs in the Arab world, noting that the proportion of banking facilities provided for these projects does not exceed 9% of total bank facilities.
Furthermore, he cited the lack of strong regulatory frameworks needed to streamline the SME sector as an additional obstacle.
To address these challenges, the minister added, Jordan has launched a national financial inclusion strategy, with one of its main objectives being to improve access to finance for small and medium-sized enterprises, citing the Kingdom’s success in increasing financial inclusion from 33% in 2017 to 50% in 2020.
For her part, UN Under-Secretary and ESCWA Executive Secretary Rola Dashti said the summit serves as a platform that brings together those seeking funding, training and technology, and those who have the capacity and resources to meet these needs. .
She also said that the annual employment rates of SMEs remain low compared to large companies, stressing that SMEs can play a vital role in achieving higher and more comprehensive economic growth, in particular by guaranteeing new employment opportunities for young people, serving as an effective driver of change and development.
The three-day summit will cover topics such as global expansion, access to markets and global value chains, access to finance, green entrepreneurship and new technology trends. It also features an exhibition attended by about 100 small and medium enterprises.