Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour met on Thursday with chief editors and columnists of local daily newspapers as part of the government's policy of openness with all institutions and to brief them about the economic situation in the Kingdom and the latest developments related to this issue.
During the meeting, attended by Minister of Finance Umayya Toukan and Minister of State for Media Affairs Mohammed Momani, Ensour reviewed the main features of the budget draft bill presented by the government to the House of Representatives early this week.
He said the domestic revenues in the budget were formulated in accordance with real and honest estimates, noting that these were estimated at JD5.3 billion last year of which a target of JD5.1 million was achieved.
Ensour added that this year, the domestic revenues have reached JD5.8 billion exactly while expenditure turned out to be JD7.9 billion compared to the JD8.1 billion figure estimated last year.
He noted the most prominent indicators achieved by the Jordanian economy, pointing out that the Kingdom posted an economic growth of 3.3 percent in the current year, up from 2.8 percent in 2013, while commodity exports rose by seven percentage points but imports decreased. Trade balance deficit also decreased by two percentage points and the trade deficit was also down by seven percentage points.
On bread subsidies, Ensour stressed that the government will not raise the price of bread for the Jordanian citizens at all. "We will find a mechanism to compensate them if we decided to lift subsidies on this to save about 200 million dinars, since a large part (of these subsidies) is wasted and consumed by non-Jordanians."
In response to a question, Ensour emphasized that the debate on the Income Tax bill articles will be completed by the Lower House next Sunday, adding that the proposed piece of legislation does not impose income tax on the agriculture sector, but on profits achieved by merchants of agricultural materials in excess of 100,000 dinars.
On the figures issued by the Department of Statistics, the premier confirmed that the department does not receive any directives from the government in any way asking it to issue incorrect figures when it comes to unemployment rate or on any other aspect.