Almost a third of Jordanian firms cited limited access to finance as the top obstacle to their operations, a recent report said.
report, produced by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Investment Bank, and the World Bank Group, said a lack of access to finance in Jordan was partly down to cyclical factors, including regional instability that led to disruptions and then a complete halt to Egyptian gas and the resulting budget constraints.
“Public debt increased from 71 percent of GDP in 2011 to 82 percent in 2012, potentially crowding out the private sector,” said the What’s Holding Back the Private Sector In MENA? Report that surveyed more than 6,000 firms in the region’s manufacturing and services sectors. “These adverse shocks also decreased firms’ propensity to invest and hence reduced their demand for credit.”
The report also said Jordanian banks only issued 10 percent of their total loans to SMEs. This was partly due to the fact that most loans have been directed towards the government and public sector entities since 2010. Moreover, the report added that more than a third of Jordanian firms reported being discouraged from applying for loans due to difficult terms and conditions.
Other factors hindering the growth of Jordanian businesses also included high taxes, which came right after financing, followed by political instability. The report also criticized the large gender gap in the labor market with women making up only 8 percent of the workforce in a typical Jordanian firm, compared to an average of 17 percent in the rest of the region.