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‘New local administration law to remedy gaps, overlaps of decentralisation’

By Rana Husseini - Jul 13,2019 - Last updated at Jul 13,2019

AMMAN — In a bid to remedy overlaps between the Municipalities Law and the Decentralisation Law, a new piece of legislation is currently being drafted by the government to be sent to Parliament for debate, Minister of Political and Parliamentary Affairs Musa Maaytah has said. 

“We conducted several dialogues with civil society and relevant government entities regarding the Decentralisation Law and formed a committee to evaluate the two-year experience,” Maaytah told The Jordan Times in a recent interview.

The minister said the committee was entrusted with examining “the gaps and negative aspects that accompanied the decentralisation experience in order to improve the process”.

“We have suggested having a single piece of  legislation entitled the ‘local administration law’, which will include the governorate and the city councils,” Maaytah explained.

In principle, the minister maintained, there will be one law governing and organising the work of the governorate and the city councils and a separate law governing the Greater Amman Municipality.

“The new law suggests that the Ministry of Local Administration will be in charge of applying the local administration law once it is approved,” according to the minister. 

The minster added that there are “many scenarios being examined to come up with the best method to apply the new law within the government bodies”.

Ministry of Political and Parliamentary Affairs Secretary General Ali Khawaldeh said that the aim of the new step is to “ensure that each governorate is fully serviced”.

“The idea is to ensure that all the services are secured in each governorate by the local governorates so that people would not have to leave their areas to other governorates seeking certain services,” Khawaldeh told The Jordan Times.

At the same time, Khawaldeh added, “we want to reach a stage whereby the residents of each area will be able to make their own choices regarding their priorities and needs”.

“We are hopeful that the local administration law will help in achieving this aim once it is endorsed and ratified,” Khawaldeh added.

Several officials have said in the past that the Decentralisation Law needs amendments to meet the Royal vision of a fair distribution of decision making and authority-granting. 

The officials also called for setting an adequate budget for the councils to implement their developmental projects.

When the Decentralisation Law was first introduced in 2016, government officials said it was an advanced reform project to integrate citizens in prioritising economic, service and social projects and follow up on their implementation within scheduled times in the budget.

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