Jordanian data has revealed that the country’s public debt rose during April to 96 percent of the GDP, while the new government is facing popular pressure to limit financial austerity policies.
The Jordanian finance ministry said in its monthly released report on Thursday that the total public debt reached in April around JOD27.7 billion (USD39 billion) with a slight increase from 2017 in which it reached JOD27.2 billion, 95.3 percent of the GDP.
The public debt was at 60 percent of the GDP during 2008, and it rose gradually during the past years.
Jordan witnessed this month the biggest protests in years over a tax hike as part of policies recommended by the International Monetary Fund to reduce public debt.
The protests led to the government’s collapse and the appointment of a new prime minister, Omar al-Razzaz, who said that he is willing to withdraw the income tax bill which drew widespread anger among the people.
As the net public debt of the country reached around 90.7 percent of the GDP, the net internal debt continued to represent the biggest burden with 50.2 percent of the GDP and an external debt of 40.6 percent.
Jordan acquired in 2016 the approval of the IMF on a three-year funding program worth USD723 million to support structural reforms in the country.
The program aims at reducing the public debt to 77 percent of the GDP by 2021.
Ahmad Awad, head of the Jordan Center for Economic Research, said that the tax bill was the straw that broke the camel's back, adding that its withdrawal was inevitable.