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IMF Approves $1.3 bln Aid Program for Jordan

IMF Approves $1.3 bln Aid Program for Jordan

Thursday, 26 March, 2020 - 06:15
Jordanian police personnel guard at a checkpoint during the second day of a nationwide curfew, amid concerns over the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) spread, in Amman, Jordan March 22, 2020. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Wednesday that its board approved a four-year $1.3 billion aid plan for Jordan, made all the more necessary by the global coronavirus pandemic.

The program was initially announced at the end of January before the novel virus rocked the world's economy.

"Changes were made to the program to support unbudgeted spending covering emergency outlays and medical supplies and equipment," the IMF said in a statement.

"If the impact of the outbreak is deep enough to put at risk program objectives, the program will be adapted further to the changed circumstances, upon reaching understandings with the authorities," the statement added.

Jordan will immediately receive a first tranche of about $140 million. The rest will be dispensed over the rest of the program, subject to eight program reviews.

In addition to funds for combatting the pandemic, the program also provides for structural reforms including lowering the price of electricity for businesses and facilitating youth employment.

"The aim is to support stronger and more inclusive growth, create jobs, especially for women and young people, and reduce poverty," the IMF said in a statement.

Jordanian Finance Minister Mohammad Al Ississ told Reuters earlier that the loan had been approved. He said in a statement that loan and associated reforms would help Jordan attract more donor and investment funds.

"It signals confidence in Jordan's economic reform process, and support for our efforts to mitigate the impact of the virus on vulnerable economic sectors and individuals," Al Ississ said.

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