AMMAN –– His Majesty King Abdullah on Monday underlined the need for the governorates development fund to start operating as soon as possible.
At a meeting with the concerned ministers to discuss the fund’s work mechanisms, King Abdullah called for setting priorities to ensure citizens’ participation in plans aimed to improve their living conditions, according to a Royal Court statement.
“This is a national priority and we will not accept any delay in the start of the fund’s work, which should be in line with a clear approach and mechanisms that are measurable and adjustable,” the King stressed in the meeting, attended by Prime Minister Awn Khasawneh.
The Monarch ordered the creation of the JD150 million fund in July during a visit to Mafraq Governorate in order to finance development plans designed for the country’s governorates.
King Abdullah noted that the private sector also has a responsibility in supporting the fund, calling on the government to reach out to private companies and encourage them to contribute to the effort.
He underscored the need for citizens in governorates to sense the positive outcomes of the fund by directing a large portion of its resources to create work opportunities, particularly in areas witnessing high rates of poverty and unemployment.
The King called on ministers to designate time to communicate with the people and discuss their problems and issues, adding that field work enables them to have a firsthand look on the situation there and subsequently ensure the provision of adequate services.
For his part, Khasawneh underlined that the government will work to attract private sector players to participate in the fund, which he said seeks to build a genuine partnership to develop governorates.
He reiterated that the fund seeks to come up with income-generating projects and programmes that help combat poverty and unemployment.
Minister of Industry and Trade Sami Gammoh said the government has allocated JD25 million from this year’s budget to implement projects in governorates, in addition to JD25 million allocated from next year’s budget.
He noted that the fund will finance infrastructure, service and tourism schemes in governorates based on citizens’ needs, while the development projects will be implemented by the ministries and concerned state agencies.
The fund will also provide training that enhances citizens’ skills so they can get jobs in the private sector.
Regarding the fund mechanisms, Gammoh noted that the required funding will be through the state budget and according to each governorate’s development plans, while the government will ask the private sector to fund part of these plans based on an annual programme.
The minister said that the fund will be sustained through national institutions, such as the Agriculture Credit Corporation, the Development and Recruitment Fund and the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, among others.
The fund plans also include rehabilitating the Cities and Villages Development Bank to be the institution in charge of funding economic projects in governorates.
Gammoh added that the finance ministry will be responsible for referring the fund allocations to each ministry and institution in charge of implementing a certain scheme, while all the concerned bodies will provide a monthly report on the course of their work.
The fund will also extend low-interest loans to beneficiaries.