AMMAN — Hundreds of government vehicles were taken from the employees of the ministries of water and irrigation and municipal affairs on Wednesday in an attempt to cut down public spending.

Sources at the Ministry of Water and Irrigation said the parking lots at the two ministries were filled with public cars that were taken from their employees, directors and assistants.

“Minister of Water and Irrigation and Minister of Municipal Affairs Mahir Abul Samin decided today [Wednesday] that all vehicles would be taken from employees, even high-ranking ones,” a source at the Ministry of Water and Irrigation, who requested anonymity, told The Jordan Times.

From now on, employees tasked with official assignments away from the two ministries will take government cars from the parking lots and return them once their task is completed.

“Staff will no longer be allowed to take government cars, except for official tasks. This decision will largely reduce expenditures at the two ministries,” another source at the Ministry of Water and Irrigation said on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media.

A statement issued by the Ministry of Water and Irrigation said that Abul Samin had formed committees to monitor the use of the two ministries’ fleets.

Official figures indicate that fuel expenses of government vehicles exceeded JD12.6 million during the first five months of this year.

Public sector cars from all civil and military agencies consumed 95-octane gasoline worth JD10.83 million during the first five months of the year, while the value of the agencies’ consumption of the cheaper oil derivative, 90-octane, was JD1.851 million, according to the Jordan Petroleum Refinery Company.

There are around 20,000 public sector vehicles, according to official figures, which also indicate that the value of government cars stands at over JD200 million.

Earlier this month, the Cabinet decided to task the Public Security Department (PSD) with monitoring the use of government vehicles. 

Under the decision, PSD personnel are responsible for checking whether government-owned cars used outside official working hours have received approval to operate and provide the Council of Ministers with their licence plate numbers.