The World Bank on Thursday announced $500 million in financial support to Jordan's ongoing reforms to improve the economy.
According to a World Bank statement, the aim is to promote economic growth, create more jobs, and expand the National Aid Fund cash transfer program to cover an additional 85,000 households.
'The First Equitable Growth and Job Creation Development Policy Loan (DPL) will also expand social safety nets to protect the poorest against economic shocks, boost job creation, and improve access to finance for small and medium enterprises (SMEs),' it added.
According to the World Bank, the $500 million DPL consists of a grant of $111 million from the Global Concessional Financing Facility (GCFF) and a non-concessional portion of $389 million.
'The World Bank reiterates its unwavering commitment to support Jordan at this critical juncture,' said Saroj Kumar Jha, World Bank Mashreq regional director, according to the statement.
Jha said the new Jordanian government has an opportunity to build consensus for reforms based on a broad consultative approach, adding: 'We look forward to supporting Jordan’s efforts to unlock the potential of its human capital, increase its competitiveness, kickstart growth and boost job creation.'
On June 4, Jordanian Prime Minister Hani al-Mulki tendered his resignation to King Abdullah II following protests over a controversial income tax bill.
Abdullah accepted the resignation and appointed Education Minister Omar al-Razzaz to head up a new government.
Jordan has been rocked by protests in recent days after the government approved an amended version of a tax bill that would, if passed, subject all annual incomes of 8,000 Jordanian dinars (roughly $11,200) or more to additional taxes.
The government recently raised electricity prices -- for the fifth time this year -- leading to further popular discontent. It also raised subsidized fuel prices by 5.5 percent before reversing the move at the request of Abdullah.
By Diyar Guldogan