News Column

Jordan seeks Japanese loan guarantees

July 21, 2014

by Khetam Malkawi | Jul 20, 2014 | 23:21

AMMANJordan now is seeking loan guarantees from Japan to improve the Kingdom's credit rating, Saleh Kharabsheh, secretary general of the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, said on Sunday.

Kharabsheh said the issue was discussed with Akihiko Tanaka, president of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), who is currently visiting Jordan.

Receiving guarantees from Japan will enable Jordan to access affordable financing from international capital markets, according to Kharabsheh.

So far, the US is the only country that issued loan guarantees for Jordan. 

Last month, Jordan issued $1 billion of Eurobonds which was stood as the second loan guaranteed by the US government.

At a joint press conference with JICA president on Sunday, Kharabsheh said Jordan has requested a $200 million soft loan from the government of Japan.

However, "we have to discuss details of the loan with Japan's finance ministry", the official noted.

If granted, this will be the third loan that Jordan obtains from Japan in three years.

In 2012, Jordan received a $155 million loan and, in 2013, another $120 million credit was obtained .

Tanaka said his visit to Jordan is to mark the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties and 40th anniversary of economic cooperation between the two countries.

The Japanese official added that the international community should work closely with Jordan to ease the burden for hosting Syrian refugees.

"Visiting the Zaatari Refugee Camp, I realised the burden Jordan has to bear," Tanaka said,  indicating  that his country is assisting in the improvement of water supply networks in Jordan's northern governorates to help ease the burden on host communities.

Asked about Japan's future assistance to Jordan, Tanaka replied: "Our cooperation is extended upon our partners' request, and at this moment we can't say what we can do in 2015".

However, he mentioned the Petra Museum Project as another project that JICA will implement in Jordan, noting that the implementation of the approved project will start in 2015 and will be completed in 2016.

Kharabsheh said the ministry is contacting the Japanese government regarding the National Response Plan to deal with the impact of the Syrian refugees.

The official said the three-year plan estimates the cost of providing services for the Syrian refugees at $4.5 billion

Also on Sunday, Tanaka met with Finance Minister Umayya Toukan and reiterated the importance of increasing assistance to Jordan after his close review of the sizeable challenges the Kingdom faces and his visit to the Zaatari Refugee Camp, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

Tanaka also expressed his country's willingness to share with Jordan the burdens resulted from the Syrian crisis. 

Toukan valued Japan's continued support in all fields and briefed the delegation on the financial reform programme that Jordan is undergoing to maintain sound financial performance and stability, Petra reported.

Since the year 1999, the government of Japan extended $764 million to Jordan, $430 million of which were grants and the rest were loans.

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Source: Jordan Times, The

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