Energy and finance committees meet with gov’t; discuss blackout, recovery

‘We do not see the need for a foreign entity to take part in this’ says MP of Italian firm

Energy Committee
The Parliamentary Energy Committee meet with experts and specialists in the field of energy and electricity to discuss the power outage that occurred across the Kingdom, May 31, 2021. (Photo: Petra)
AMMAN — The Parliamentary Energy Committee met on Monday with experts and specialists in the field of energy and electricity to discuss the power outage that occurred across the Kingdom last week. Also on Monday, the Finance Committee met with Minister of Finance Mohamed Al-Ississ.اضافة اعلان

The meeting was set to address the government's and the National Electric Power Company's (NEPCO) reports, as well as the outcomes of their previous meeting with the committee.

“We still do not have a solid answer in our hands. The Energy Committee is still investigating the cause of the power outage, and we will present the findings of the investigation to experts to determine the causes.” Nidal Al Hiyari, member of Energy Committee told Jordan News. “Our team of Jordanian electrical engineers is qualified and capable, thus we do not see the need for a foreign entity to take part in this,” referencing the Italian consulting firm that has been tapped by the government to investigate the blackout.

He also stated that there would be possible consequences for the government if the evidence shows that they are responsible in any way. “If the government bears responsibility for this, the government must provide information promptly and without any delays in order to restore confidence in its performance,” he explained.

Zaid Al Otoum, head of the Energy Committee, told Jordan News “Our experts are made up of electrical engineers who work for the Jordan Electric Power Company, as well as the directorates responsible for the electrical system, and they have experience determining the reasons of power outages.”

Otoum also expects that this session will help facilitate the investigation with the assistance of the government. “We hope that the first meeting reinforced our need for complete transparency and cooperation from the government in giving the information needed to properly determine the reasons behind the power outage.”

Specialists also urged the Energy and Mineral Resources Committee to meet with NEPCO and schedule weekly operational studies, study the costs of conventional and renewable energy sources, monitor relays that disconnect generators in the event of a surge, and review records of power fluctuations.

The Lower House Finance Committee met Finance Minister Mohamed Al-Ississ, who told media that “the nation’s economy is starting to recover, with JD2.5 billion in revenue in the first third of the year.” According to his statement, “the strategy to combat tax and customs evasion proved effective, as evidenced by the results of the first third of the year and tax collection increased by 38.4 percent compared to the same period in 2019.”

He also added that “external grants decreased compared to last year by 34.5 percent, and by 18 percent compared to 2019.”

Chairman of the Financial Committee Nimr Salihat told Jordan News that, “despite the closures of sectors and several industries, the numbers were positive and the revenues increased. When we compare these revenues to the years 2020 and 2019, we can see how positively we have progressed.”

In the meeting, Jordan News interviewed MP Khalid Al-Bustanji, who followed up the case of MP Osama Al-Ajarmeh. Ajarmeh is currently suspended for his offensive statements last week. Bustanji stated that “Ajarmeh's comments were not only directed at a specific person, but towards entire constitutional institution.”

“His insults were directed at every one of our members, who come from all around Jordan. This constitutional institution has been standing for a century, and its members come and go, but its mission remains the same, and disrespect is not allowed among any of us,” Bustanji concluded.

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