Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries in the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) are willing to help cash-strapped Jordan cope with its financial and energy challenges, according to Minister of Finance Mohammed Abu Hammour.
“Saudi Arabia and the other brotherly Gulf countries have always supported Jordan and will do so to help it overcome its temporary financial difficulties,” Abu Hammou was quoted as saying by the Jordan Times.
Saudi Finance Minister Ibrahim Al Assaf visited Jordan last week and held talks with Jordanian Prime Minister Marouf Bakhit and Abu Hammour. King Abdullah II visited Saudi Arabia earlier last week and held talks with Saudi King Abdullah Ben Abdul Aziz on bilateral ties and regional developments.
Abu Hammour said he briefed Assaf on the economic challenges facing the country, particularly the modest growth in the gross domestic product, which stood at 2.26 per cent at the first quarter of this year, the Jordan Times reported.
The two minister also discussed the impact of the interruptions in natural gas supplies from Egypt to Jordan . The disruptions caused huge financial losses to the electricity company as power generation plants resorted to heavy fuel and diesel as a substitute to natural gas, Abu Hammour said.
The government that took over after the ouster of the regime of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt in February called off a Mubarak-era agreement under which Jordan used to receive Egyptian gas at a heavily discounted price. Cairo and Amman renegotiated prices and now Jordan pays a higher price for Egyptian gas. Last month, Saudi Arabia offered Jordan a 283 million dinar ($400 million) grant, which Abu Hammour said will help implement several capital projects included in the budget and will also help overcome some fiscal challenges.
Jordan’s main revenues are expatriate remittances and income from the tourism sector as well as exports of phosphate, potash and pharmaceuticals. It depends on imported oil and gas for almost all its energy needs. The GCC has invited Jordan to join the bloc along with Morocco after negotiating the entry procedures.
From / Gulf Today