AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah on Tuesday commended the measures taken by the Central Bank of Jordan (CBJ) to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis on the national economy.
During a visit to the CBJ, King Abdullah said the measures helped the private sector weather the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially on small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs), according to a Royal Court statement.
Speaking at a meeting attended by Prime Minister Omar Razzaz, His Majesty praised the CBJ’s role in maintaining monetary and financial stability and supporting economic growth in Jordan, as well as its success in strengthening the resilience and safety of Jordan’s banking system.
The King stressed the importance of developing e-government and e-payment services, urging continued coordination among all institutions.
His Majesty said the CBJ must continue with its programs to counter any future developments.
Jordan will come out of the COVID-19 crisis stronger, the King reiterated, noting that the opportunities to achieve that are available, and the ideas discussed can help Jordan stand out regionally and internationally.
For his part, Prime Minister Razzaz said the economy has proven its resilience in facing the challenges imposed by COVID-19, commending the measures taken by the CBJ to help companies maintain liquidity and retain their employees.
He said nearly 13,000 SMEs have moved from the informal to the formal economy and have benefited from unemployment insurance after registering to benefit from mobile wallet services.
National Aid Fund beneficiaries have also been receiving support through mobile wallets, the prime minister added.
In a briefing presented at the meeting, CBJ Governor Ziad Fariz said Jordan’s monetary stability helped enhance its credibility and gained local and foreign trust.
Fariz outlined the CBJ’s projections for economic performance in the upcoming period, noting that foreign exchange reserves are within safe levels, which has reflected on monetary stability and helped maintain a low inflation rate at 3 per cent, while preserving the Jordanian dinar’s exchange rate against the US dollar at the same level since 1995.
The Kingdom’s reserves are sufficient to cover eight months of imports, which is a comfortable level, he added, stressing the stability of the banking and finance sectors and their ability to serve the economy.
CBJ officials highlighted the measures taken by the bank to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, including a financing program targeting firms harmed by the crisis.
A total of 3,645 loans have been financed, disbursed to SMEs, professionals, and business owners, they explained. Some 43 per cent of the loans were disbursed to cover salaries, with the government covering their interest, and they have benefited 75,000 employees at a total value of JD156 million.
They said CBJ’s monetary response since the beginning of the crisis has amounted to 8 per cent of the GDP, which is among the highest levels in the region and has substantially contributed to containing the impact of COVID-19 on economic sectors.
They also noted the progress of CBJ’s strategy of financial inclusion, which succeeded in almost doubling the financial inclusion rate (from 24 per cent in 2014 to nearly 50 per cent).
The gender gap in financing dropped to 29 per cent, down from 53 per cent, while Jordan’s ranking on the World Bank Group’s latest Doing Business report rose from 134th to 4th place in terms of ease in getting credit, they said.
Royal Hashemite Court Chief Yousef Issawi, Adviser to His Majesty for Communication and Coordination Bisher Al Khasawneh, and Adviser to His Majesty for Policies and Media Kamal Al Nasser accompanied the King on the visit.
Source: The Jordan Times.