Wednesday, August 15, 2018 | ePaper

Saudi Arabia to host meeting over Jordan economic crisis

  • Print


Prime Minister Shekih Hasina took part in the G7 outreach leaders meeting in Quebec on Saturday.

Al Jazeera News :
Saudi Arabia will host a regional summit to discuss the ongoing economic crisis in Jordan, where a proposed income tax rise recently triggered some of the largest protests in years.
The meeting on Sunday in Mecca will be attended by Saudi King Salman, Jordan's King Abdullah II, Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
The leaders agreed to meet in order to "discuss ways to support Jordan to overcome the economic crisis the country is going through," Saudi Press Agency said on Saturday, quoting a statement from the Royal Court.
Jordan relies heavily on foreign aid, and the $3.6bn assistance programme it receives annually from the Gulf Corporation Council has not been renewed since last year.
Daoud Kuttab, a journalist based in Jordan's capital, Amman, said most of the financial aid given to Jordan by Gulf Arab states "has dried up or gone on to specific programmes" which do not help the country's budget.
"There are different schools of thought on this issue," he explained. "One says that the Gulf countries support programmes like building schools and highways [in Jordan] rather than just giving them money.
"Then there are some people who think that there is some kind of a political connection to the stopping of the direct support," Kuttab told Al Jazeera.
"The fact is Jordan is suffering because of this absence of financial aid," he said, adding that Amman considers Arab countries have a responsibility to keep it afloat, due to its role in protecting Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third-holiest site in Islam.
Protests erupted in Jordan's capital Amman and other provinces earlier in the month, calling for the government to scrap price rises and a controversial International Monetary Fund-backed income tax reform bill.
Jordan received a $723m loan from the IMF in 2016 and has put in place a three-year plan to bring down debt levels.
Austerity measures tied to the loan have seen prices of basic necessities rise across the kingdom, creating discontent over the increasing fuel and bread costs. Electricity bills, meanwhile, rose by five times in 2018 alone.
The demonstrations resulted in the resignation of Prime Minister Hani al-Mulki earlier this week, and highlighted what analysts called the "structural" problems of the country's economy, which suffers due to regional instability, dependency on foreign aid and the high cost of hosting 650,000 Syrians refugees.
Jordan's national debt amounts to $1.753bn, or up to 95 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Following al-Mulki's resignation, the Jordanian King Abdullah appointed Education Minister Omar al-Razzaz as prime minister with the task of forming a new government.
On Thursday, al-Razzaz announced that the controversial tax reform bill will be withdrawn, but the issue of balancing popular demands with the need to reduce Jordan's public debt remains unresolved.

More News For this Category

Omarosa's White House recordings fuel Trump woes

Omarosa's White House recordings fuel Trump woes

AFP, Washington :President Donald Trump on Monday plunged himself into a made-for-TV spat with his former aide Omarosa Manigault Newman - a mud-slinging match that has fuelled fears of

US offers military funding to Sri Lanka, as China vies for influence

US offers military funding to Sri Lanka, as China vies for influence

AFP, Colombo :The United States announced Monday it would grant Sri Lanka $39 million to boost maritime security as China develops its strategic hold on the Indian Ocean island.The

Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen makes rare US speech

Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen makes rare US speech

AFP, Los Angeles :Taiwan's president has given a speech in the United States - the first time in 15 years that a leader of the island has spoken publicly

New Caledonia protects huge swathe of coral reefs

New Caledonia protects huge swathe of coral reefs

AFP, Noumea :New Caledonia agreed Tuesday to tougher protections around a huge swathe of some of the world's last near-pristine coral reefs, in a move conservationists hailed as a

News In Brief

40 children killed in Yemen bus strikeAFP, SanaaForty children were among 51 people killed in a Saudi-led coalition air strike on a bus in rebel-held northern Yemen, the Red

Trump administration pressures judges to speed deportations

Trump administration pressures judges to speed deportations

AFP, Los Angeles :US immigration judges say they are under increasing pressure from President Donald Trump's administration to speed up immigrant deportations - or risk removal if they delay.This

69 including children killed in arms depot blast in Syria's Idlib

69 including children killed in arms depot blast in Syria's Idlib

AFP, Sarmada :An explosion at a weapons depot that toppled buildings in a rebel-held town of northwest Syria killed at least 69 civilians including a dozen children Sunday, a

Two Koreas agree to hold September summit in Pyongyang

Two Koreas agree to hold September summit in Pyongyang

AFP, Seoul :North and South Korea agreed Monday to hold a summit in Pyongyang in September, the South's Yonhap news agency reported following high-level talks in the Demilitarized Zone

Iran unveils next generation missile

Iran unveils next generation missile

AFP, Tehran :Iran's defence minister unveiled the next generation of Tehran's Fateh Mobin short-range ballistic missile on Monday, according to conservative news agency Tasnim."As promised to our dear people,

News In Brief

36 dead, 98 missing as dam collapse in LaosXinhua, VientianeLao military personnel and a rescue team from Singapore are continuing the search for the 98 people still missing in