Jordan's parliament on Wednesday passed the state budget for this year, forecasting a slight deficit reduction and constant inflation and economic growth, state media said.
The budget expects the deficit to remain at 16 per cent of spending but fall to 2.9 per cent of gross domestic product, compared with 3.4 per cent last year.
“The government will continue to raise the efficiency of revenue collection and curb tax and customs evasion,” Finance Minister Mohamad Al Ississ told the overwhelmingly pro-government legislature, comprised mostly of tribal deputies.
The budget forecasts 11.4 billion dinars ($16 billion) in expenditures, constituting an 8 per cent increase from last year. Salary increases totalling 312 million dinars, mainly for soldiers and military retirees, account for a significant proportion of the projected increase in spending, Mr Al Ississ said.
Revenue is also expected to rise by 8 per cent to 9.6 billion dinars, because of more money from taxes, stipulated by a fiscal programme agreed upon with the International Monetary Fund.
Passing of the budget is mostly procedural in Jordan. Of the 103 parliamentarians present at the session on Wednesday, 86 voted in favour of passing the budget.
The budget expects economic growth to remain at 2.7 per cent and inflation at 4 per cent, similar to last year
Most state expenditure went on salaries and pensions. The kingdom has one of the highest public debts relative to the size of its $45 billion economy.
The latest World Bank data shows Jordan's public debt stood at 114 per cent of GDP at the end of 2021. The organisation had forecast a similar figure in 2022, and 115.2 per cent of GDP for 2023.
Jordan is a close US ally and a major recipient of aid from Washington as well as several European countries. The budget forecasts foreign grants to rise to 802 million dinars, compared with 796 million dinars last year.