AMMAN — The government plans to launch a campaign to raise awareness on energy difficulties and the need to rationalise consumption, Prime Minister Awn Khasawneh told officials from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Thursday.

Describing energy as the top challenge facing the Kingdom, Khasawneh mentioned the measures taken by the government to sharply reduce expenditure.

The prime minister briefed the IMF delegation about the country’s economic performance and the policies adopted to deal with current economic difficulties.

He highlighted the measures that will be taken to deal with economic challenges, mainly the budget deficit and the increase in energy prices, noting that these plans are now ready to be implemented.

The premier said during yesterday’s meeting, attended by Finance Minister Umayya Toukan, that the government’s previous economic plans were based on the notion that energy resources are available at certain prices, but the frequent disruption of Egyptian gas supplies to Jordan posed large economic burdens on the Kingdom, coupled with a high deficit.

Despite regional conditions, Jordan remains an investment conducive environment, he said, noting that there is willingness to continue investing in the country.

The delegates commended the government’s serious efforts to handle the energy bill, in particular, expressing the IMF’s readiness to support it.

In statements to the press following the meeting, IMF Director for Middle East and Central Asia, Adnan Mazari, said: “ We discussed the performance of the Jordanian economy, amid global economic challenges and circumstances”.

“There are many pressures on the Jordanian economy …mainly external, besides the disruption of Egyptian gas supplies into the Kingdom”, he noted, adding that the government is fully aware of these challenges and can handle them.

The delegation said Jordan has important capabilities… to boost its economic performance, which is originally good, and to create more jobs, expressing the IMF’s readiness to assist Jordan to deal with economic challenges.