Jordan ready to utilize GCC grant, but waiting for payments and green light
The government is ready to start drawing on the financial aid extended for Jordan’s development schemes by Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
“Signed agreements with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) covering several projects so far cost around $2,7 billion,” Saif pointed out.
He attributed the delay in withdrawing the money, allocated in a grant by the Gulf Cooperation Council for capital expenditure, to a lengthy process that starts with sending a list of projects to the donors which weigh their feasibility before approving them and, later, budgeting the funds to the ministry that will carry out the development sheme.
Speaking at a discussion panel organised by the Jordan Transparency Society, the minister said that priority was given to funding “added-value projects that can solve central issues of energy, water and transportation”.
“We allocated around 10 per cent of the grant to health projects and around 8.5 per cent to water and drainageprojects… in addition to around $46 million for local development projects over the five-year period,” Saif said at the event held at the Amman Chamber of Industry.
As such, the minister expected capital expenditure to increase in the last quarter of this year and the beginning of 2014 since most of the GCC-funded projects were budgeted for.
During a summit in December 2011, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait and Qatar decided to extend a $5 billion financial aid to development schemes in Jordan over a five-year period, with each state to contribute $1.25 billion.
Qatar is the only member of the council that has not paid any part of its contribution.
Economist Khaled Wazani, who spoke at the discussion panel, noted that there is no harm if terms of reference and conditions are attached regarding spending of the grant.
He stressed that what’s important is to make Jordanians across the Kingdom feel the benefits of the projects