Jordan Builders Warn of More Job Cuts If Government Fails to Pay

Fifty Jordanian builders will cut more jobs and halt some infrastructure projects unless they receive money owed by the government, the head of the builders’ association said.

“More than 100 employees at these firms either resigned or were dismissed as the companies cannot pay them salaries,” Ahmad Tarawneh said in a phone interview today. The contractors are owed 70 million dinars ($99 million) and if they aren’t paid, “I am afraid that they will not only dismiss more employees but will also stop some of their projects,” he said.

Among the payments due by the government since the first two months of the year are 30 million dinars owed by the Ministry of Water and Irrigation, 10 million dinars by the Ministry of Housing and Public Works and 10 million dinars by the Higher Council for Youth, Tarawneh said. The rest is owed by the ministries of health, justice and education, he said.

Jordan, one of the smallest economies in the Middle East, imports almost all of its energy needs and relies on foreign investment and grants to support its budget and current-account deficits. The government has increased subsidies and purchases of oil products since protests against the government broke out as part of this year’s regional turmoil.

Jordan Petroleum Refinery Co., the kingdom’s only refiner, announced June 21 that it may stop importing fuel unless it received 633 million dinars owed by the government and power companies. The refiner said yesterday it received a payment of 165.5 million dinars from the power companies.

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