Green light for future projects funding
Manama, November 27, 2011
Demands by central councillors for BD10 million ($26.6 million) to be spent on urban and development projects have received an initial green light.
Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Minister Dr Juma Al Ka'abi has agreed to form a joint committee with Central Municipal Council to draw up a priority list for future projects.
'I have no problem assigning the BD10 million councillors are demanding for future projects, but there should be a priority list that we must agree on,' said Dr Al Ka'abi. 'It could be less than the amount asked for or it could be more - I will approve whatever is needed to push those projects ahead.”
'It irritates me to see in the press that people are complaining that councillors are slow and are not achieving their demands,” he said.
'Since I am responsible for municipal projects in the country, the success of the council is my ministry's success and I will work to ensure that, through whatever way possible,' he added.
Dr Al Ka'abi was speaking after he was voted to chair the council's special session at the Central Municipality in Isa Town.
'I know that councillors are saying that there are many pending issues that need addressing and here I am to do so,' he said.
'In regard to the Isa Town Traditional Market there were plans to have an investment project there that would turn it into a modern shopping area, but due to the financial crisis, the businessman behind it decided to withdraw,' he said.
'He has agreed to invest in the place again recently and we have sat to initialise a new deal that will be soon presented to the council to review and look into,' he said.
He said that the new Sitra Central Market had been tendered for a contractor.
'A contractor will soon be selected and work to replace the current market will immediately begin,' said Dr Al Ka'abi.
He urged investors to present projects that they would like to build on municipal lands in the Central Governorate.
'There are many municipal plots available in the governorate, mostly in A'ali, and we are calling on businessmen to present us with plans for possible projects, so we can have them utilised,' said Dr Al Ka'abi.
'In the end, private investment is better than having us do projects from the municipality's coffers.
'Our budget and municipal fares taken from investors can be easily used to fund vital projects that people are anticipating.'
He said that plans in the governorate included a major park in every constituency and a mini-park in each town and village.
Municipality director-general Dr Mohammed Hassan said that five parks were on their way to serve the public in the governorate.
'We have two parks ready in Sitra and Ma'meer that will be opened to the public soon as well as two in Jidhali and one in A'ali that will be built in a few months,' he said. 'Our public parks are open for investment to those wishing to run them, including all types of services once they are approved.
'Besides investing in public parks, we are open for investment in all our municipal plots and they are many.'
Hassan said that there were several facilities being offered thanks to the help of donors.
'We have received a donation of children's rides from Abdulrahman Kanoo School and we have set them up in Sitra's public park,' he said.
'There is interest to have public parks look nice and acceptable and several other schools, institutes and businesses have come forward with ideas to improve them,' he concluded. – TradeArabia News Service