Country Listing

Jordan Table of Contents


Austerity Measures

To contain its financial crisis, the Jordanian government embraced several austerity measures in the late 1980s. It froze the currency exchange rate and halted the operation of money changers, who had facilitated the dinar's drop by ignoring official exchange rates and acting as an open black market. In November 1988, the government also imposed new import duties of 20 to 30 percent on most consumer goods and banned a wide array of so-called luxury imports, including automobiles, refrigerators, cameras, televisions, telephones, cosmetics, and cigarettes. The ban on luxury imports was to last for at least one year, but statements by Jordanian officials indicated that it might last considerably longer. Taxes and service charges at airports and hotels were increased, as were work permit fees for guest workers. The government also adopted an austerity budget that cut both current expenditure and development investment (see The Budget , this ch.). Prime Minister Zaid ar Rifai sought to reassure Jordanians that the problems were temporary. In a February 1989 interview, he stated that " the Jordanian economy is active and suffers no troubles at all. Its troubles are financial, not economic." To the extent that this was true, however, observers noted that Jordan's successful growth in the 1970s and early 1980s was likewise more financial than economic.

Data as of December 1989