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Jordan is not just Amman

Oct 20,2018 - Last updated at Oct 20,2018

The decentralisation plan for Jordan was launched a year ago upon the personal initiative of His Majesty King Abdullah to bring regional decisions closer to local provincial councils set up in the first place to engage "locals" in the development of their respective regions, lift them from their neglected situation and prevent them from being left behind.

The people of the various regions of the county must be allowed a real and effective opportunity to determine their own fate because they are closer to the challenges facing them than the central government in Amman.

Sensing that these provincial councils are lagging behind in implementing the goals set for them, the King had to step in and instruct the government to reevaluate the decentralisation plan and revamp it where necessary. Therefore, in his meeting with Prime Minister Omar Razzaz and the heads of the provincial councils on Wednesday, the King called for a thorough reevaluation of the decentralisation plan with a view to "enhancing the advantages [of the plan] and overcoming the obstacles" facing it.

Taking stock of the decentralisation plan one year after its introduction is certainly timely and a necessary step, especially when it has not lived up to the expectations set for it. The economic envelopment of various regions of the county certainly tops all other national issues as poverty and high unemployment remain rampant in most, if not all, of them.

Promoting investment in these regions, that is appropriate for their peculiar circumstances and differing conditions, is certainly at the top of the agenda for any such reevaluation process.

As the King said during his meeting, the measurement of the success or failure of the plan conducted on the ground is the best way to assess whether the plan thus far is a success story or not. The prime minister and some of his Cabinet ministers should consider making periodic field visits to the regions of the country to come abreast with their special situations and determine what support should be provided to them.

Jordan is not just Amman and its environs. The heartland of the country is just as important.

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