Unpaid Libyan debts force Jordan hotels to close
Some Jordanian hotels have been forced to close down or sell properties due to Libya’s delay in paying outstanding dues of Libyan guests who came to the Kingdom for medical care, according to the Jordan Hotel Association (JHA).
JHA Executive Director Yasar Majali told The Jordan Times over the phone on Monday that the Libyan patients’ outstanding bills stood at JD75 million, which hoteliers were counting on in order to pay the millions they owe suppliers.
“Hotels have to pay back their outstanding dues to suppliers, so some of them can no longer operate and have had to close down,” Majali explained, without saying exactly how many hotels had closed down or how many jobs had been lost.
Other hoteliers, he added, were forced to sell their cars or other property in order to pay their debts and keep their hotels open.
“The situation is really difficult,” Majali noted, adding that while the JHA understands that Libya is going through a difficult situation, “there should be a solution”.
The JHA director also pointed out that hoteliers pay income tax based on the bills they issue, whether or not these bills are paid in full.
“They paid taxes without collecting the revenues, and this added to their burden,” he said.
Milad Dababneh, who owns several hotels, said he had to close some of his properties and lay off employees after Libyan authorities failed to pay him some JD350,000.
“I had to pay income tax, and the electricity and water bills. We provided full service for Libyan guests without receiving a penny for the past eight months,” Dababneh said over the phone.
“We held a protest recently in the front of the Libyan embassy in Amman, but there was no response except promises,” he added.
Ali Bin Jalil, head of the Libyan health office in Amman, could not be reached for comment despite multiple attempts by The Jordan Times.
Approximately 60,000 Libyan patients came to Jordan in the aftermath of the North African country’s revolution last year, with Libya’s new government promising to pay their expenses.
As of November, the Libyan government still owed Jordanian hospitals over JD120 million, or around 85 per cent of their total debts of JD150 million.