Tabarbour merchants report losses, shop closures as transport project drags on

Construction of the BRT’s infrastructure, which began back in June 2019, has had “a negative impact on all sectors of the area”

  

AMMAN - The Greater Amman Municipality’s (GAM) Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project continues to negatively impact the businesses of Tabarbour traders and landlords, forcing many out of work, President of the Amman Chamber of Commerce Khalil Haj Tawfiq said last week.

“Due to the severe setback in Tabarbour merchants’ sales and revenues, the ACC is currently estimating the value of damages and losses caused by the BRT project,” the president of the commerce chamber told The Jordan Times.

Filing a report on the estimated losses is “not easy” due to perpetual loss of trade, Haj Tawfiq said, noting that the information should be accurate and precise in order to respond to the BRT’s “catastrophic” impacts and compensate those who have been affected by the project.

Construction of the BRT’s infrastructure, which began back in June 2019, has had “a negative impact on all sectors of the area”, including the garment sector, gas stations, car rental agencies and other service sectors, Haj Tawfiq said.

He added that more than 50 businesses have shut down operations and closed their doors.

GAM has also failed to consult merchants about project procedures that would affect them and their businesses, Haj Tawfiq said, noting: “This is a national project, which means it should not affect citizens and their interests.”

“The least that could be done is exempt Tabarbour traders from sales tax, vocational licences and property tax,” he said.

Comprehensive mechanisms and plans need to be established to ensure the rights of Tabarbour traders through forming local committees, according to the ACC president.

“The BRT project contributes to the development of the Kingdom, but it must not put traders further behind given all the road closures and detours around Tabarbour’s Tareq intersection,” he said.

Yazan Faluji, the owner of a stationery shop at the Tareq intersection, told The Jordan Times over the phone on Wednesday that “all stores” near the BRT project have been closed.

“My store is almost a kilometre from the construction of the project, and my sales have significantly dropped. Still, it is not that bad compared to stores that have closed their doors for good,” Faluji said.

According to Director of the BRT at GAM Riad Kharabsheh, the ACC’s efforts to obtain data regarding the loss of earnings and the value of the damage are “of the utmost importance”.

As a government institution, GAM is “fully prepared” to follow up on the compensation of merchants affected by the project’s construction as long as it is subject to “observable and clear regulations”, Kharabsheh told The Jordan Times on Wednesday.

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