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Jordan: No New Taxes in 2020 Budget

Jordan: No New Taxes in 2020 Budget

Saturday, 23 November, 2019 - 06:30
A general view of the downtown area of the Jordanian capital near the Grand Husseini mosque in Amman in this January 21, 2014 file photo.REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed/Files

Jordan will not impose new taxes in its proposed 2020 budget but will seek other means including a crackdown on pervasive tax evasion to help boost revenues crucial to lowering record public debt, the finance minister said on Thursday.

Mohammad Al Ississ told parliament's finance committee that maintaining "fiscal stability" remained a main concern.

The budget is expected to be sent to parliament in coming days.

Jordan is struggling under a three-year IMF program begun in 2016 to rein in a public debt that has hit a record 94 percent of GDP as part of long delayed structural reforms, Reuters reported.

The government is seeking ways to increase revenues without resorting to new taxes that could fuel the same anger that triggered the biggest demonstrations in years when steep hikes including sales tax pushed by the IMF came into effect.

"We have to reach the necessary revenues to continue fiscal stability," Al Ississ said.

The minister said tackling tax evasion that officials estimate costs the treasury hundreds of millions of dollars annually would help improve government finances.

"We will fight tax and customs evasion with all the power of the law," he added.

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