$1.8 billion in financial pledges to carry out National Water Carrier Project-Planning Ministry

01-04-2022 01:10 AM

Ammon News -

Pledges of donor countries and funding institutions to implement National Water Carrier Project now stands at $1.830 billion in grants and soft development and investment loans, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, Naser Shraideh, announced.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Shraideh referred to the conference aimed to mobilize support and funding for this "vital and strategic" project (Aqaba-Amman Water Desalination and Transport Project), which would desalinate about 300 million cubic meters (MCM) from the Gulf of Aqaba, to be then delivered to the Kingdom's various governorates.

This project, he said, comes to fill the existing water deficits, and meet the increasing demand as a result of several factors, foremost are the increase in population numbers, Syrian refugee crisis, and other expected needs in various economic sectors.

Mobilizing support for the project consists of two stages, the first was announced today, and the second is scheduled at the end of 2023 first quarter, before the completion of floating tenders to a developer to start implementation, according to the minister.

The pledges for the project in the first stage included about $447 million in grants, $522 million in development loans, while soft investment loans were worth $861 million, he noted.

Meanwhile, $353 million will be provided to support the project through the general budget, at a rate of JD50 million annually, over the next 5 years, he said.

Shraideh said grants will be secured for National Water Carrier Project, either from the general budget or from donors, at a value of $800 million to support its implementation, which would thus reduce the cost of the cubic meter in the future.

Development loans, which extend to periods up to 20 years, will contribute to lowering the project's financial costs that stand at $522 millions, within grace periods of up to 4 years, and finally enhance the project's feasibility, he noted.

Meanwhile, soft investment loans, which amount to $861 million, target the developer who wins the tender and aim to enable the winning institution to reduce funding costs that would reflect on the price of the desalinated water cubic meter, the minister said.

The United States' support for this project amounted to $700 million, in grants worth $300 million, and $400 million in soft investment loans, followed by the EU countries, which provided support in the form of grants at $147 million, and development loans worth $522 million, while soft investment loans amounted to $461 million, he noted.

The minister said grants came from Germany, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, the European Investment Bank (EIB) , and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

Work will begin in the coming weeks, following up on from the various donors and funding agencies, to prepare bilateral agreements to provide the project's funding, he noted.

In addition, Shraideh stressed the continued Ministry of Planning's efforts in preparing for the next conference to raise funding to carry out the project, which will be at the end of the 2023 first quarter.

Today's conference comes to provide more grants and soft loans to support this project, which would enhance Jordan's water security, create an added value for providing water to the Kingdom's various governorates and plug the water deficit expected during the next phase, he pointed out.

This project, he said, will open "new" horizons to meet water needs for various economic , agricultural, industry and tourism sectors.

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