October 23, 2017

Prime Minister Hani al-Mulki met with academics and researchers at the University of Jordan, as part of meetings his government initiated to discuss with the public economic challenges as well as the government's priorities in the coming stage.

At the meeting, attended by a number of ministers, the president of the university and the director of the university's strategic center studies, al-Mulki said the government views with interest meeting with public opinion leaders to benefit from their views and ideas to reach solutions to challenges facing the Kingdom.

He stressed the need for a quick return to stability in the region, to enable its countries to achieve development.

On Jordan's relations with Iraq, the prime minister said Iraq is expected to be an economic, political, and development partner of Jordan.

On the economy, he said there is an opportunity to achieve reform, noting that if the public debt-GDP ratio continues to rise and reaches 100 percent, it will be difficult to find any international donor to provide grants to the Kingdom.

The prime minister stressed the importance of enhancing the rule of law, as it contributes to achieving justice, developing the economy and improving the investment climate.

He also highlighted the need to develop the educational sector as well as tackling the problem of unemployment.

He added that the government has started to implement a program to create jobs and replace foreign workers with Jordanians and that the government allocated JOD100 million for this program.

On vocational and technical training, the prime minister said the government has set up a general framework for a higher council to guide graduates from schools towards technical and vocational education.

"We are aware that not all economic indicators are positive, but some are, including the increase in tourism income, remittances, exports and imports, despite their impact on trade deficit," he noted.

He pointed out that the subsidy provided in the 2017 budget to citizens amounted to JOD850 million, including JOD140 million for bread after it amounted to about JOD180 million and was down due to control measures, JOD135 million for electricity, JOD240 million for water, JOD44 million for cooking gas, JOD100 million for national aid, JOD72 million for universities and JOD126 million for medical treatment until the end of July.

He emphasized that financial reform must be accompanied by economic and developmental reform that will stimulate economic growth, attract investments and strengthen government services projects citizens need.

During the meeting, the prime minister answered attendees' questions and inquires on a number of local, regional and international issues.