AMMAN — Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Bisher Al Khasawneh on Sunday visited Madaba and met with its dignitaries, MPs and senators, as part of His Majesty King Abdullah’s directives to check on citizens’ needs in all governorates and improve the city’s living, service and development conditions.

Khasawneh, during the meeting at the American University in Madaba and attended by an accompanying ministerial team, reviewed the challenges facing the Kingdom in the past decade, which were exacerbated by the pandemic, and referred to the government’s measures to overcome the pandemic and its repercussions.

The premier stressed that the COVID-19 crisis is “now behind” despite its heavy ramifications, noting that Jordan is now on the recovery path and that the Kingdom has overcome the most difficult challenges and “stayed strong”, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

He also referred to the repercussions of the Russian-Ukrainian crisis on the prices of oil and other vital commodities, stressing that despite the steady hikes in oil prices, fuel derivative prices will remain unchanged for the third consecutive month in conjunction with Ramadan.

In this regard, Khasawneh said that the cost of maintaining the prices of fuel derivatives for the current and next month will be some JD80 million, noting that fuel prices will resume to match international prices after Ramadan.

The prime minister stressed that the state’s “wise” policies in the energy field and expanding long-terms contracts for natural gas, whether from Egypt or the liquefied gas ship in Aqaba and other resources, spared the Treasury additional costs of some $1.2 billion in 2020 and 2021 and some $300 million over the past two months as a result of unprecedented hikes in energy prices.

He also said that the Russian-Ukrainian crisis led to a steady rise in the prices of basic commodities, such as wheat, barley, corn and vegetable oils, noting that the Kingdom’s strategic reserve of wheat is enough for 14 to 15 months.

The premier referred to the World Bank’s statements that Jordan is among the least affected countries of this crisis.

He said that most merchants and importers have responded to calls not to raise prices to high levels, adding that some merchants did not abide by such calls.

In this regard, Khasawneh stressed that the government will not allow some to tamper with living conditions of citizens or impose excessive hikes in prices.

The premier also noted that His Majesty carries a comprehensive reform vision to modernise the political, administrative and economic systems, adding that King Abdullah also seeks to embark on executive work to implement basic aspects of the comprehensive reform by this summer.

The prime minister stressed that empowering the private sector, increasing its competitiveness and holding “a true partnership with the sector" are strategic goals of the Jordanian state.

Khasawneh noted that the saved amounts from applying the new electricity tariff that will be applied in early April will be directed to productive industrial, commercial, tourist and hospital sectors.

He directed the Health Ministry to provide the needs of Nadim and Thiban hospitals of specialist doctors and necessary equipment, and the Public Works Ministry to rehabilitate the road leading to Al Safi garment factory in the Malilh area.

The prime minister also stressed that the government will provide all necessary assistance to render Madaba success as the Arab tourist capital of 2023 and highlight this event in a way that suits Jordan and Madaba’s tourist status.

Khasawneh also reviewed major projects that will be implemented, such as the railway project that is pending the signing of an initial memorandum of understanding with an Arab fund over the next few weeks.

Madaba Governor Nayef Hdayat said that the governorate has received several Royal initiatives that build up on His Majesty’s achievements and vision in improving the living conditions of citizens, which covered educational, health, social development and productive sectors.

Dignitaries and representatives of the governorate reviewed top demands and needs and stressed the need for establishing development projects that contribute to realising sustainable development and providing jobs for youth.

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