AMMAN — The Senate on Sunday endorsed the draft 2014 state budget law, after its Financial Committee concluded discussions and submitted recommendations. The decision came just 10 days after the Lower House approved the bill. Only one senator voted against the draft law in a session attended by 65 out of the 75 Upper House members. The Senate Finance Committee urged the government to exert more efforts to collect unpaid dues and taxes, estimated to exceed JD1 billion. The committee also called for reviewing the current subsidy system, particularly the one covering basic commodities. The Senate panel recommended that the government study the socio-economic impact of its decisions on each sector before carrying out decisions on subsidies. The committee also called on the government to enhance its economic performance by boosting measures to attract foreign investments, especially in the energy sector. Earlier this month, the Lower House endorsed the draft 2014 state budget law with a majority of 57 votes out of 102 lawmakers who attended the meeting out of the 149-strong House. The deliberations over the budget took three days, with 87 MPs taking the podium to comment on the budget, which features a deficit of JD1.1 billion. The size of the 2014 budget is estimated to reach JD8.096 billion, up by JD920 million over public expenditure re-estimated for 2013. Public revenues before foreign assistance are estimated at JD5.831 billion, an 11.6 per cent increase compared with the JD5.226 billion in 2013. Overall public revenues, including foreign grants, are estimated to reach JD6.982 billion. Budget planners project assistance from donor countries to increase by JD169 million or 17.3 per cent this year, from JD982 million re-estimated for 2013, to amount to JD1.151 billion. The draft will now be sent to His Majesty King Abdullah for ratification after which it will go into effect once published in the Official Gazette .
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