AMMAN (Reuters) – Prime Minister Bisher al-Khasawneh reshuffled his cabinet on Sunday in a transfer meant to accelerate IMF-guided reforms seen as essential to Jordan’s financial restoration from the blow of the coronavirus pandemic, officers mentioned.
Six new ministers have been named together with inside and justice after Khasawneh fired each incumbents final week for attending a restaurant ceremonial dinner that violated coronavirus restrictions they have been supposed to implement.
In the brand new 28-member cabinet, Brigadier General Mazen Araya, who headed the COVID-19 disaster centre, was appointed inside minister in a shakeup seen as giving Khasawneh extra scope to sort out social and financial issues, authorities officers mentioned.
The British-educated Khasawneh, a veteran former diplomat and palace aide, was appointed final October by King Abdullah to restore public belief over the dealing with of the coronavirus well being disaster and defuse anger over successive governments’ failure to ship on pledges of prosperity and curbing corruption.
Jordan is witnessing a virtually two-month-old surge of infections pushed by a extra contagious variant of the virus amid rising discontent over worsening financial circumstances and curbs on public freedoms below emergency legal guidelines.
Aides say Khasawneh was anticipated to retain Harvard-educated Mohammad Al Ississ as finance minister. He has gained International Monetary Fund reward for his dealing with of the economic system in the course of the pandemic, and has negotiated a four-year IMF programme price $1.3 billion, signalling confidence in Jordan’s reform agenda.
The anticipated reshuffle comes after parliament final week handed a 9.9 billion dinar ($14 billion) funds which Al Ississ mentioned aimed to keep fiscal prudence to assist guarantee monetary stability and rein in a document $45 billion public debt.
The economic system noticed its worst contraction – 3% – in many years final 12 months, hit by lockdowns, border closures and a pointy fall in tourism in the course of the pandemic, however the authorities and the IMF each predict a bounce of comparable magnitude this 12 months.
Officials say Jordan’s dedication to IMF reforms and investor confidence within the improved outlook helped the nation keep steady sovereign rankings at a time when different rising markets have been being downgraded.
(Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; Editing by Mark Heinrich)