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IMF to release more funds to debt-ridden Jordan

Jordan has been gripped by protests and strikes over anti-austerity measures [Getty]

Date of publication: 7 June, 2018

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The IMF will work with the new Jordan government to complete a review of the debt-burdened country's loan programme to release another $70 million.
The International Monetary Fund is to release another $70 million to debt-ridden Jordan after anti-austerity protests this week brought down the government.

The IMF will work with Jordan's new government and prime minister Omar al-Razzaz to complete a review of its loan programme to release more funds, its spokesman Gerry Rice said on Thursday.

Rice told a regular news briefing that the IMF welcomed a call from Jordan's King Abdullah for a "national dialogue" over tax legislation that has sparked the protests.

Rice also called on the international community to take a stronger role in supporting Jordan as it struggles with the burden of taking in more than one million Syrian refugees and higher security costs.

Razzaz announced on Thursday a deal had been reached to withdraw the proposed controversial income tax law, after protesters staged strikes and nightly demonstrations in a rare show of dissent.

The draft bill aimed to increase taxes on employees by at least five percent, and on companies by between 20 and 40 percent.

It was the latest in a series of measures of economic reforms since Amman secured a $723-million three-year credit line from the IMF in 2016.

A new price hike for electricity and fuels announced last week was revoked following orders from the king as protests continued to swell.

Jordan's capital Amman was quiet on Thursday night, with only 100 people returning to the main protest site near the prime minster's office, according to an AFP photographer.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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