Jordan’s Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour says the international community must do more than merely offer goodwill to help his country deal with the influx of Syrian refugees escaping the civil war ravaging their homeland, CNBC reported.
Ensour outlined how Jordan, with a population of six million—most of them Palestininas—is having great difficulty dealing with about one million refugees. “You can imagine the burden,” he said. “The impact of the presence of so many refugees who have nothing in their hands and who need shelter, need food, need medicine: they represent pressure on our resources.”
When asked whether the international community was doing enough, Ensour blunt responded: “Not much is coming, to be honest. We only have sympathy, understanding and goodwill, but that’s all and that does not suffice. These refugees expect three meals a day, they need shelter, hospitals, schools; all kinds of needs.”
According to CNBC, the World Bank promised an extra $150 million in aid to help Jordan with the cost of helping Syrian refugees, having already pledged $250 million in January, 2012, to help the country deal with its economic downturn.
Except that Jordan’s finances are already controlled by International Monetary Fund budget deficit targets, which means that the money coming in to support Syrian refugees, may be going out to pay the country’s debt to the IMF.
“Now, we don’t know what will happen between now and the end of the year. Definitely more burden and therefore more deficits on the budget. It will be very, very difficult,” Ensour said.
Jordan is planning, among other measures, to stop subsidizing electricity, which could affect its products’ ability to compete abroad (e.g. Israel).
Jordan is now trying to raise around $2 billion in bonds backed by the U.S. government, which Ensour told CNBC would be “very, very helpful. It will cut down expenses and it will for sure bring more interest in the interaction.”
Perhaps this would be a good time for Jordan to lay off the “peace process” next door in Israel and try to concentrate on the gaping deficits at home.