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Parliamentray committee demands JD300m allocations for municipal projects issued before end of 2019

‘Budget department has two weeks to meet with council heads to resolve issues’

By JT - May 01,2019 - Last updated at May 01,2019

AMMAN — The House of Representatives’ Financial Committee on Wednesday demanded that the JD300 million’s worth of allocated funds in the 2019 municipal budget be handed out before the end of the year, to avoid unnecessary delays.

The committee also assigned a period of two weeks for the head of the General Budget Department to meet with the municipal councils individually to arrive at a consensus on the mechanism for the implementation of the projects listed in their budgets, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

Head of the committee, MP Khaled Bakkar, also called for increasing the monitory role of the councils to help facilitate progress.

He added that the committee will request that the Prime Minister meet with the heads of municipal councils as well, to discuss unresolved issues and ways to overcome them.

The demands were made during a meeting with Minister of Political and Parliamentary Affairs Musa Maaytah, Minister of Finance Ezzeddine Kanakrieh and Minister of Public Works and Housing Falah Omoush.

According to Bakkar, “the meeting was held to monitor the government’s performance in implementing what was agreed on, during the previous 2019 state budget meeting, with regards to municipal councils and their achievements”.

The delay in the issuance of payments, like last year, hinders the implementation of projects aimed at improving the quality and level of services offered to the public, he explained.

To that effect, Kanakrieh reaffirmed that the government will not slash the 2019 budget or any funds allocated to projects listed in it.

He further explained that the allocations in the budget are merely estimates. Issuance takes time and is usually delayed since payouts are the last stage of the execution of any government-commissioned project.

A sum of JD70 million, of the JD300 million municipal councils’ budget, was allocated for the execution of projects that were proposed in 2018, the minister added.

More so, the government decided last year to decrease the budgets of all ministries and public institutions, Kanakrieh underlined, while reaffirming that set budgets for 2019 will not be slashed.

Bakkar stressed the importance of collectivising efforts to support the success of municipal councils, in implementation of His Majesty King Abdullah’s directives and vision towards decentralisation and the service of citizens.

He added that periodical meetings will be held with the heads of municipal councils to evaluate their progress and ensure the implementation of their projects.

“Government spending is being monitored and the Financial Committee will hold accountable all those who make decisions to spend beyond the limits of the budget. The committee and the Finance Ministry are in communication through detailed monthly reports,” Bakkar stated.

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