A RIVETING FUTURE

Jordan 2019 | REAL ESTATE & CONSTRUCTION | INTERVIEW

Jordan needs to house more people than ever before, and it is looking to turn its construction sector to the task of rebuilding neighboring countries in need as well.

Falah Abdullah Al-Amoush
BIOGRAPHY
Falah Abdullah Al-Amoush is the Minister of Public Works and Housing. He has also served as the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners of Petra Tourism, as a member of the Board of Directors of Jordan Electricity Company, and as the Undersecretary of the Greater Amman Municipality among many other roles in the country. He holds a bachelor’s in civil engineering.

The Jordan Economic Growth Plan 2018-2022 outlines double-digit growth for the construction sector. What are the main focus areas and ministry's strategy for attaining this target?

The construction, engineering, and housing cluster (CEHC) plays an important role in the economy as an enabler for other sectors in Jordan, such as manufacturing, transport, and finance. CEHC is a substantial contributor to GDP, both directly and indirectly, through enhancing growth rates and providing employment opportunities. In order to raise the bar for CEHC, the ministry's strategy focuses on specific interventions that introduce new international best practices and accreditation systems for engineers and other sector professionals. Also, we aim to revise the contractor classification system in line with new standards of excellence and strengthen monitoring and enforcement capabilities through modification in the newly published National Building Law. The ministry works on other interventions in improving engineers' education and training by introducing new degree programs that meet industry and market needs in partnership with the Ministry of Higher Education, Accreditation Commission, and Jordanian universities. The Ministry of Public Works and Housing (MPWH) focuses on opening new export horizons through better industry organization and promotion efforts to tackle entry barriers into foreign markets and raise the profile of Jordan's CEHC expertise and capabilities. Jordanian contractors should play a major part in the future reconstruction of Iraq and Syria. In this regard, one of the achievements that MPWH supported is the government-backed bank guarantee of JOD100 million (USD141 million) to support contractors in working abroad, which the Central Bank of Jordan announced in February 2019 through Jordan Loan Guarantee Corporation.

What role do PPPs play in the construction sector, and what are the ministry's highlighted opportunities for collaboration?

HM King Abdullah II, at the London Initiative 2019 Conference in February, mentioned “ready-to-invest opportunities streamed by the Project Pipeline, a Jordan-led effort in partnership with the IFC to develop bankable opportunities with the legal and financial structuring that investors expect.” In line with HM's vision, MPWH currently is working on the redevelopment of King Hussein Bridge Crossing that connects Jordan to the West Bank, improving the flow of people, goods, and services through new facilities and user-friendly border crossing that is fit-for-purpose and sustainable based on international best practices. The rehabilitation and expansion of the King Hussein Bridge crossing point terminal project will be under a PPP model.

How does the ministry support job creation and increased employment in the Kingdom?

CEHC employs people across a wide range of professions. To date, around 5,000 Jordanians have been employed in construction projects managed by MPWH. MPWH chairs a higher committee, which also includes the Minister of Labor, Amman Governor, the Jordanian Engineers Association President, and Jordanian Constructions Contractors Association President, for the implementation of the bylaw regarding the mandatory employment of Jordanians from the governorates in which construction projects are carried out. This bylaw applies to all construction projects, both public and private, that are implemented in the Kingdom. MPWH is a partner in implementation of “Employment through Labour Intensive Infrastructure Programme” funded by the German Federation Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development through the German Development Bank in partnership with International Labour Organization (ILO). In this program, Jordanians and Syrian refugees worked on routine maintenance road projects.