(MENAFN - Jordan Times) With the Kingdom's construction sector still stagnating, local contractors said they want the government to help them export their services abroad.
Pointing out that the volume of construction projects in 2010 dropped to JD650 million from JD3.5 billion last year, Ahmad Tarawneh, president of the Jordan Construction Contractors Association (JCCA), said the government should support Jordanian companies to enter regional markets.
We have called on the government several times to establish an official independent entity to enable local firms to carry out projects abroad, he said, explaining that representatives from the sector should be part of official delegations visiting other countries.
Stressing that local construction firms are capable of carrying out projects in other countries, the JCCA president said that there are opportunities for Jordanian firms to enter the markets of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Libya, and other countries.
The slowdown in the local construction sector has impressed upon contractors the importance of entering new markets, Tarawneh said, and the JCCA organised a workshop in June to determine the best means to export Jordanian construction services abroad.
During the workshop, contractors came up with recommendations on setting up an independent body to help them enter other markets and the suggestions were sent to the government, but received no response, he claimed.
When the government unveiled the state budget for 2011, local contractors were disenchanted with the JD1.205 billion allocated for capital spending saying this amount is not enough to revive the sector.
Capital spending in next years budget, which was revealed in November 6, will increase by JD216 million, or 21.8 per cent, year over year.
Contractors have claimed that spending will be mostly directed to ongoing projects rather than new ones, but Finance Minister Mohammad Abu Hammour countered that a fair portion of the funds will be allocated for new projects.
According to Hamzeh Murad, a construction company owner and secretary of the JCCA, 2010 was not a good year for the sector, which consists of around 2,000 contracting firms that employ over 150,000 people.
Tarawneh also told The Jordan Times over the phone that the government owes local construction firms around JD60 million.
The association has been pushing the government over the past three months to pay its financial dues to local contractors because the delay may force some companies into bankruptcy, he warned.
He explained that the financial claims include around JD30 million owed by the Ministry of Public Works and Housing, JD19 million by the Water Ministry, and over JD8 million by the Tourism Ministry.
By Omar Obeidat