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    Gov’t announces JD448m COVID stimulus package

    April 1, 2021
    government

    New measures aim to enhance and expand social protection programmes — PM

    AMMAN — The government on Wednesday announced a set of COVID stimulus packages and relief measures for citizens and struggling sectors at a total value of JD448 million.

    Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Bisher Al Khasawneh said that the stimulus measures aim to enhance and expand social protection programmes, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

    The packages also aim to protect existing jobs in the private sector, stimulate employment and mitigate the pandemic’s impacts on the public transport sector and investment activities in development zones, Khasawneh said during a press briefing at the Prime Ministry.

    He added that the Council of Ministers has taken mitigation actions related to public funds collection from individuals and businesses, in addition to deferring installments owed to public credit funds until the end of the year.

    The measures also include increasing the limit of credit facilities of the Agriculture Credit Institution by JD30 million, according to the premier.

    He also said that JD240 million will be injected into the market, compromising arrears, tax returns and properties acquisition compensations.

    The government is intended to reach a safe summer that includes the reopening of sectors and a gradual return to normal life, which requires taking vaccines and protecting the capabilities of the health sector.

    The PM said that the government has reached contracts worth JD70 million to procure COVID vaccines, highlighting the government’s ongoing efforts towards securing the maximum quantity of “safe vaccines”.

    On the preparations for the holy month of Ramadan, the PM said that the government will intensify efforts to regulate prices, reassuring the public of sufficient supply of vital commodities.

    He warned that price gouging will not be allowed, stressing that the government will prevent it through all legal means.

    Also speaking during the press conference, Finance Minister Mohamad Al-Ississ said that the volume of the newly announced stimulus measures constitute 1.4 per cent of GDP.

    The government has launched temporary recruitment programmes in the fields of tourism, agriculture and health until the end of the year. It also has taken measures to enhance the social protection networks by JD60 million.

    Al-Ississ also announced extending the Istidama programme — a COVID relief programme that targets hard-hit sectors — until the end of the year to protect jobs in the private sector.

    Al-Ississ said that the government has decided to launch expanding measures aimed at enhancing the social protection network and supporting the private sector, as well as creating temporary jobs for youth and injecting liquidity via repaying dues at a cost of JD448 million, out of which JD423 million will be covered by the Finance Ministry, while JD25 million will be allocated from the Social Security Corporation.

    The stimulus package would enhance the social protection network by JD60 million, allocated for the “Takaful” programme — a national welfare support programme — among others, as well as for programmes aimed at sustaining jobs in the most affected sectors and creating temporary jobs at a total value of JD113 million.

    He added that the government has launched programmes to employ young people in the vaccination campaigns at a cost of JD10 million, pointing out that the government package included JD240 million to pay back hospitals and pharmaceutical companies’ dues, as well as for the Jordan Petroleum Refinery Company (JPRC).

    Speaking also during the press briefing, Minister of State for Media Affairs Sakher Dudin said that an additional 60,000 households will benefit from the Takaful 3 programme this year, to reach 160,000 families, the majority of which are daily wagers.

    He added that underprivileged families will receive food vouchers during Ramadan to buy foodstuffs from the civil and military consumer corporations.

    Dudin said that the expansion of Estidama programme would help in sustaining the jobs of more than 100,000 workers in the most affected sectors, adding that the cost of this measure is estimated at JD50 million paid by the Treasury, in addition to JD25 million from the Social Security Corporation.

    Regarding the stimulation of the construction sector, Dudin said that GAM will increase the number of allowed apartments on land parcels, and the height of buildings, according to specific regulations.

    The Ministry of Digital Economy and Entrepreneurship will launch a project to fresh graduates who graduated during the last three years in digital and IT companies, he added, noting that the government will subsidise 50 per cent of wages for a period of six months, at a total cost of JD20 million.

    He revealed that the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities will launch a project for the rehabilitation and maintenance of various archaeological and tourist sites across the Kingdom, a move that would provide about 4,500 jobs for a period of eight months and at a cost of up to JD11 million.

    Moreover, the ministries of Health and Digital Economy and Entrepreneurship will launch a project to create 1,500 data entry and extension and communication jobs for a period of six months as part of coronavirus containment efforts, at a total cost of JD2 million, the minister said.

    Thee Ministry of Health will also launch a project to employ 2,500 male and female nurses, for a period of six months, in cooperation with the Jordanian Nurses and Midwives Association, with the aim of supporting the ministry’s efforts in hospitals, health centres and vaccination sites, at a total cost of JD6 million.

    Dudin also pointed out that the Agriculture Ministry of Agriculture will launch a national afforestation project in governorates to employ 6,000 unemployed Jordanians at a cost of JD10 million for a period of six months, and not exceeding the end of this year.

    Also, the ministries of Agriculture and Finance will subsidize the interest on loans secured for new and priority agricultural projects aimed at employing youth and women and stimulating the use of technology at a value of JD4 million.

    Dudin added that the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Supply will allocate JD10 million to stimulate the industrial sector.

    In the youth and media sectors, the minister noted that the package allocates JD2 million to support the employment of young men and women who graduated during the last three years in vaccination and disease prevention campaigns.

    According to the minister, the programmes and projects, which will be introduced under the package, will help create about 14,500 jobs through the end of the current year, in addition to protecting the jobs of more than 100,000 private sector workers.

    Public transport operators in the capital Amman will be relieved from 50 per cent of new licensing fees to compensate them for lockdown periods and the reduction in seating capacity, Dudin indicated, adding that the cost of this measure is JD1.6 million.

    Also, fines imposed on delayed payments of property tax will be cancelled while taxpayers will also be relieved from fines on outstanding balances they owe to the tax department if they pay off the dues before July 1, 2021.

    jordantimes

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