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Unity, tolerance needed to maintain Jordan’s stability — PM

By Petra - Dec 16,2014 - Last updated at Dec 16,2014

NORTHERN MAZAR — Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour on Tuesday stressed the importance of safeguarding the security and stability the Kingdom enjoys.

“Such stability has not come and will not continue by chance; it needs to be preserved through unity, understanding, tolerance and paying attention to all words and actions,” Ensour noted while heading a ministerial team on a visit to Northern Mazar District in Irbid Governorate.

In this regard, he added that there is a wide scope to criticise government policies, exchange views with it and point out shortcomings, but Jordan’s security is always a “redline”.

The premier said the visit is under Royal directives to communicate with citizens and provide them with any possible services.

The Kingdom has managed, despite regional circumstances and challenges, to survive woes that disrupted bigger countries in terms of population, area and capabilities, Ensour added.

But this does not mean that the government can rest; it should press ahead with the reform endeavour and take “tough decisions” without hesitation, the premier noted.

Disagreements between the government and Parliament are a natural characteristic of democracy, he added, urging the public not to be dismayed by the ongoing exchange of opinion between the two authorities.

Responding to residents’ demands regarding rented schools in the district, which has nine rented schools and 33 schools owned by the Education Ministry, the prime minister instructed Education Minister Mohammad Thneibat to draw up a plan that guarantees phasing out rented schools within two years.

There are 814 Syrian students in the district’s schools, with 5,000-6,000 Syrian refugees residing in Northern Mazar. 

Ensour said Jordan is morally committed to ensuring that all Syrian school-age students receive an education.

Thneibat said the total value of projects implemented by the Education Ministry in the district this year reached JD7.5 million, which included adding 122 classrooms to three schools.

He noted that the ministry wants to build more schools in the district, which has almost 13,000 students at its 42 schools.

To address the absence of sewage networks in Northern Mazar, the premier instructed Planning Minister Ibrahim Saif to secure the necessary funds to study installing a JD1 million wastewater network project in the district next year.

Ensour directed the ministers to follow up on the various demands of area residents.

Public Works Minister Sami Halaseh said the total value of projects in Northern Mazar this year stood at JD3.5 million, some of which were completed while others are still under construction.

Saif said the ministry has supported 10 local societies as part of the productivity enhancement programme, in addition to providing the necessary funds for service and development projects implemented by the relevant ministries.

Labour Minister Nidal Katamine said his ministry has secured around 500 job opportunities for area residents in cooperation with the private sector, noting that the poverty rate in the district stands at 11.3 per cent compared to 13.5 per cent in the entire Irbid Governorate, some 80km north of Amman.

Environment Minister and acting Health Minister Taher Shakhshir said the Health Ministry is currently working to increase the capacity of health centres in the district.

Shakhshir said the Environment Ministry will deal with environmental and health violations in the district and refer violators to the relevant institutions.

Interior Minister Hussein Majali said the Civil Status and Passports Department’s Northern Mazar office will begin issuing passports by early next year, highlighting plans to develop a Civil Defence Department centre in the Bab Al Hawa area.

He also commended the high sense of awareness and security citizens enjoy in the district, which registered the lowest crime rate in the Kingdom compared to its population.

Water Minister Hazem Nasser said water pipeline and network projects in the district cost JD313,000 this year, noting that half of the Kingdom’s population is not connected to the wastewater network.

Municipal Affairs Minister Walid Masri said the value of projects implemented by the Northern Mazar Municipality, through the ministry’s support and grants, reached JD2.5 million.

Noting that the municipality needs a plant to process solid waste at a cost of JD400,000, Masri said the ministry is seeking to secure the necessary funds through the Gulf Cooperation Council grant next year.

He added that municipality succeeded in reducing salaries from 65 per cent of its budget to 45 per cent.

Higher Youth Council President Sami Majali said the council will construct a multi-purpose sports arena in Northern Mazar.

Deputy Mohammad Sharman, the district’s representative at the Lower House, reviewed the demands and needs of the local community, most important of which is establishing small- or medium-sized development projects, calling for benefiting from wind energy in the district to generate power.

District Governor Ali Zreiqat said Northern Mazar needs a special centre for people with disabilities, while Mayor Mahmoud Hourani said the municipality serves 60,000 citizens in nine areas, and hosts more than 6,000 Syrian refugees.

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