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Jordan's PM Omar al-Razzaz order the cabinet to resign for slated reshuffle

Prime Minister Omar al-Razzaz ordered the cabinet resignations ahead of the fourth government reshuffle in two years

Reuters , Monday 4 Nov 2019
Jordan
Jordan's Prime Minister Omar al-Razzaz (Reuters)
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Jordanian prime minister Omar al-Razzaz ordered the cabinet on Monday to resign ahead of a government reshuffle expected in the next few days, the state news agency said.

Razzaz was quoted by Petra state news agency as saying the move was needed "to face up to the challenges of the coming period".

There were no immediate announcements regarding new appointments, but Razzaz will remain prime minister.

This resuffle is the fourth in two years and officials say it will solidify al-Razzaz’s mandate to accelerate economic reforms, seen as crucial to spur growth in the debt-ridden country.

Despite It is not clear how extensive the reshuffle would be but an official said it would not affect key portfolios, but focus on merging some ministries to cut waste and curb expenditure.

The resignations require approval by King Abdullah II, who has the final say on key policies.

Frequent Cabinet personnel changes are seen as a way of deflecting growing frustration among Jordanians with high prices and unemployment.

Under an IMF austerity plan, Jordan must rein in spending to cut spiralling debt that stands at around $40 billion, equivalent to around 95 percent of gross domestic product.

Several government moves in recent months to raise the salaries of teachers and army retirees, while government revenues are falling, has further strained state coffers.

King Abdullah appointed al-Razzaz in the summer of 2018 to defuse the biggest protests in years over tax hikes pushed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to reduce Jordan’s large public debt.

Razzaz has sought to revive confidence in a country where many blame successive governments for failing to deliver on pledges to revive growth, which is stuck at around 2 percent, cut waste and curb corruption.

Jordan’s economy has also been hit by regional conflict, which has weighed on investor sentiment.

* This story was edited by Ahram Online.

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