(MENAFN - Jordan Times) AMMAN — Prime Minister Omar Razzaz on Tuesday was briefed by Irbid Mayor Hussein Bani Hani about several projects that have been implemented by the Greater Irbid Municipality (GIM) and its plans to carry out key service, development and investment projects, during a visit to Irbid Governorate, 80km north of Amman.
During a visit to the municipality, Razzaz said that the GIM, established in 1881, is among the Kingdom's oldest and biggest municipalities, noting that municipalities are national and community institutions that contribute to Jordan's development on all levels, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.
The prime minister said that the capital support for municipalities will witness a 'remarkable' increase in 2020, noting that the government will provide facilities for grants and loans whose effect will positively reflect on citizens.
He added that addressing water loss is a top priority for the water sector in the northern region, stressing that stakeholders at the Yarmouk Water Company have been directed to take the best measures to stop water loss.
For his part, Minister of Local Administration Walid Masri said that the support that has been granted to municipalities over the past five years amounted to JD600 million, which contributed to lowering their debts from JD230 million to JD80 million, as well as narrowing their budget deficits from JD460 million to JD180 million.
Masri also said that the salary-to-revenue ratio dropped to 44 per cent and the number of vocational staff increased from 10 to 30 per cent of the total number of municipal employees.
Bani Hani cited the municipality's top projects that are currently under implementation, such as the downtown development scheme, the central fruit and vegetables market and a slaughterhouse, as well as other venues in the transport, roads and traffic sector.
MPs attending the meeting called for revamping roads, establishing public parks, constructing new health centres and an education hospital affiliated with the Yarmouk University.
Demands also included establishing small projects for women and reopening the Ramtha border crossing for agricultural and industrial exportation purposes.
President of the Irbid Chamber of Industry Hani Abu Hassan referred to the increase in the chamber's exports by 6 to 9 per cent over the past two years in the first half of 2019.
Also during his visit to Irbid on Tuesday, the premier, accompanied by Minister of Digital Economy and Entrepreneurship Muthana Gharaibeh, stopped by the Irbid Development Area.
The zone, with its quality investments in the field of IT, has set a positive example of Jordan's 'promising' economic future, Razzaz stressed as he toured a number of companies that support entrepreneurial projects.
The prime minister checked on the EU-funded Luminus Shamal Start, a business accelerator in northern Jordan, as well as the UAE YAS Holding-owned Second Step for Software Development, where he met a number of Jordanian programmers who have created software for the Emirati education and health sectors.
Razzaz also visited Extensya, a company focusing on contact management solutions and business process outsourcing services that has provided job opportunities in the northern region, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.
Expressing the government's pride in the country's young skills, Razzaz said that the Kingdom's 'real wealth is its young people, who have the potential to propel the country into the fourth industrial revolution and contribute in the development march locally and regionally'.
The premier lauded the the Emirati company's policy of targeting fresh graduates and providing them with training programmes for recruitment purposes, with salaries ranging from JD450 to JD1,000.
Razzaz also commended the Irbid Development Area's companies for their adoption of advanced technologies, particularly 3D manufacturing, prostheses and drones.
Mohammed Obiedat, chairman of the Irbid Development Area's board of directors, briefed the premier on the area's investments, most of which are in the field of ICT.