Zarqa hosts dialogue on municipal problems; debt tops talks

(File photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — Government and municipal officials held a dialogue meeting at the Zarqa Cultural Center on Tuesday, in which a number of topics relating to budgetary problems faced by Zarqa municipality, among others, Al-Mamlaka TV reported.اضافة اعلان

Speaking at the event, Minister of Local Administration Tawfiq Krishan said that municipalities in Jordan are roughly JD300 million in debt despite having JD350 million in uncollected revenue.

A lack of rigorous accounting and some failed investments have also resulted in budgets being drained, Krishan said. On top of that, 15–20 percent of municipal budgets are spent on energy alone.

He said that most municipalities’ problems can be narrowed down to two areas: the organization and acquisition of municipal equipment.

One ways the ministry will limit unnecessary expenses is by no longer accepting municipal grants for machinery and heavy equipment unless the distributor providing the equipment “ensures the availability of spare parts”.

Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic led to the share municipalities received from fuel subsidies to be reduced, which Krishan stressed “will be raised to JD150 million” in the future.

Mayor of Zarqa, Imad Al-Momani, stated that his municipality “suffers from many problems” foremost of which is outstanding debt of roughly JD65 million, but only JD20–22 million in uncollected revenue. Another issue includes the appointment of unqualified personnel, which further increased the municipality’s debt.

According to the mayor, studies have shown that the Islamic cemetery in Zarqa will be unable to provide services within a year and will need to be expanded.

For their part, Zarqa parliamentarians underlined the need to raise the municipalities’ share of fuel subsidies, as well as the need to expedite the implementation of the Bus Rapid Transit project, which would benefit both Zarqa municipality and its residents.

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