Jordan eases lockdown, focuses on establishing economy

Just as Jordan was the various first international locations to react early to the novel coronavirus pandemic by using implementing a nationwide lockdown March 18 and imposing a strict curfew, it is now the first united states of america inside the vicinity to ease restrictions and step by step open up its economy.

On April 19, the government ended the lockdown inside the southern city of Aqaba but saved strict health precautions in vicinity. The port metropolis of more than one hundred,000 inhabitants, wherein no active cases have been recorded for over a month, has been remoted from the relaxation of the dominion. The minister of nation for media and communications, Amjad Al-Adaileh, additionally announced that day that the government will ease curfews in Karak, Tafileh and Maan governorates as of April 22, implementing processes similar to those in Aqaba.

Jordan eases

Jordan’s early response to the pandemic set it aside from neighboring countries including Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Israel, wherein the numbers of cases are actually inside the lots. King Abdullah advised america news program “Face the Nation” on April 19, “We acted quite early on, and that helped us flatten the curve quite, quite nicely,” in line with CBS News. “It seems that we’ve were given things underneath control and inside the capabilities of our clinical and health establishments,” he added. The king has been heading conferences with top officers through the National Center for Security and Crisis Management on an nearly every day foundation.

By April 20, Jordan’s total wide variety of confirmed instances had reached 425, with seven fatalities. The state had shut its borders, imposed a lockdown and enforced measures along with social distancing and quarantine for suspected cases. Where there have been coronavirus clusters, together with within the northern governorate of Irbid, the government became quick to isolate the region and impose a complete curfew.

But at the same time as the range of new cases has normally been decreasing via the day, the authorities appears to be ready to keep a partial curfew in fundamental population centers, including Amman, during the holy month of Ramadan, which begins subsequent week. The government, which enacted a defense regulation March 19 to permit it to put into effect strict measures and override existing laws, stated April 15 that it turned into easing up the lockdown to permit some corporations to reopen under positive situations even as watching health precautions.

On April 17, Prime Minister Omar Razzaz issued Defense Order No. 9, which outlines a program for protective companies, freelance workers and every day wage workers and aims to advantage greater than four hundred,000 families. The program covers Jordanians, Gazans and youngsters of Jordanian girls married to non-Jordanians.

The government had followed a number of financial measures to allow public and personal zone employees to acquire a sure percentage of their monthly wages whilst operating from home or reporting for paintings. Under the defense order, the government decided to suspend all increases and allowances for public zone employees until subsequent yr, even as deducting 10% from salaries exceeding 2,000 Jordanian dinars ($2,800) as a contribution to the treasury. Previous defense orders were criticized with the aid of the private region for failing to provide organizations specially harm by using the shutdown with assist from the authorities.

Business analyst and commentator Salamah al-Dir’awi wrote in Al-Ghad daily April 18 that the government had ultimately corrected its route through stepping in to help the private sector after making wrong choices earlier. “The position of the Social Security Corporation at this level is critical in supplying social safety to families which have misplaced all profits and that ought to be the authorities’s pinnacle precedence now,” he stated. “Failing to shield these families may have dire social and safety consequences for the usa,” he added.

But Dir’awi concluded that the government is not able to endure the burden on its very own. “The treasury does no longer have the assets to hold the authorities jogging as it faces a $2 billion deficit as end result of the crisis,” he said. He suggested that the authorities can have a hard time borrowing cash externally and could have to depend upon local loans.

Jordanians consider that while the authorities’s measures had been successful in containing the pandemic, the us of a may be dealing with an exceptional economic backlash in the coming weeks. But on April 19, Adaileh dispelled rumors that the authorities will not be able to pay this month’s salaries. He instructed a local information portal that the government might be able to meet its financial obligations for the coming two years. He delivered that the Central Bank’s overseas reserves are estimated at more than $19 billion, which displays financial balance.

But such assurances still seem not likely to placate Jordanians. For one, many fear that the authorities’s reliance at the Social Security Corporation (SSC) to compensate non-insured Jordanians threatens hundreds of thousands of retirees. “Why should the insured and business proprietors which have completely funded the SSC since its establishment subsidize the non-insured or the enterprise proprietors that refrained from?” enterprise analyst Jawad Abbasi instructed Al-Monitor. “The authorities should endure this fee, not the SSC, and it may try this with the aid of reducing pointless costs and reviewing its large pension fee that has lots of wasteful spending. If it desires to delve into SSC finances, it need to borrow these funds at marketplace quotes.” he brought.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicted, in a document published April 15, that Jordan’s economy will decrease by 3.7% because of the COVID-19 crisis; its gross domestic product grew 2% closing year. The IMF also expected that the economy will grow 3.7% in 2021.

The Jordan Times quoted the IMF’s leader of undertaking to Jordan, Chris Jarvis, on April 17 as pronouncing the fund became geared up to offer Jordan with support through its rapid financing tool. Jarvis expressed self belief in Jordan’s capability to recover, as the government “has already achieved loads in phrases of structural reforms,” according to the paper. Minister of Finance Mohamad al-Ississ became quoted within the identical tale as saying the unfold of the coronavirus will now not stop Jordan’s financial reform technique however as an alternative will expedite it. He burdened that the kingdom will keep to provider its debt and honor its outside obligations.

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