Jordan’s national railway project to cost $3.10 billion

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The cost of Jordan’s national railway project will be around JD2.2 billion (US$3.10 billion), Transport Minister Yahia Kasabi has revealed, according to the Jordanian news agency Petra. During a meeting with media persons, the minister highlighted the importance of this project, which will be implemented over the next six years, and said that it would link Jordan with neighboring countries and the Kingdom’s governorates to transport goods and passengers.

The transport projects that will be implemented first in the governorates of Zarqa, Irbdi and Madaba. They (projects) will be carried out by the Land Transport Regulatory Commission, in cooperation with departments affiliated to the Transport Ministry.

On the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project between Amman and Zarqa and inside Amman, the minister said that the tender would be floated once the technical plans are completed in cooperation with the Ministry of Public Works and Housing.

Budget deficit

Meanwhile, according to official data, Jordan’s budget deficit stood at JD291.2 million (US$410.72 million) after foreign aid by the end of the first half of the current year, compared with JD22.5 million in the same period of 2015.

Excluding foreign assistance, the budget deficit would stand at JD532 million compared with JD518 million in the corresponding period of 2015, the Ministry of Finance said in a report, carried by Petra news agency.

The total value of domestic revenues and foreign grants amounted to JD3.528 billion, up from JD3.349 billion in the same period last year. The report also indicated that foreign assistance during the six months declined to JD241 million from 294 million in the first half of 2015.

Total public spending surged to JD3.819 billion in the Jan.-June period against JD3.573 billion in the same period of 2015.

Grant agreements

In an unrelated development, the Jordanian government recently signed grant agreements worth $97.5 million with the British, U.S, Norwegian and Swiss governments to support the education sector to cope with the repercussions of the Syrian refugee crisis, Petra reported.

The agreements were signed by Jordan’s Deputy Prime Minister for Services and Minister of Education, Mohammad Thneibat and Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, Imad Fakhoury, with British Ambassador to Jordan, Edward Oakden, US Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director in Jordan, Jim Barnhart, the Charge d’Affaires of Norwegian Embassy, Heidi Elburgi Johansen and the Charge d’Affaires of the Swiss Embassy, Terence Billeter.

In a statement after the signing ceremony, Fakhoury underlined the importance of these agreements in helping the Ministry of Education implement its “accelerating access for Syrian refugee children to formal education plan.”

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