Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour on Monday said that the Irbid Development Area (IDA), launched by His Majesty King Abdullah II in 2007, will witness a new start as the city is developed and will contribute towards the national economy.
During his visit along with a ministerial team to the northern city of Irbid, the prime minister stressed the government's commitment to achieve the desired objective by developing it as a center of excellence to attract investments in education, health care, medical and pharmaceutical industries and information technology.
He noted that this project constitutes a model for the four northern governorates, stressing that an area of 3,000 acres, including a thousand acres owned by the University of Science and Technology, will serve as the core of many economic and investment activities, as well as a scientific center in the Irbid Governorate, the second largest governorate in the Kingdom in terms of area and population.
The premier said the area should serve as a science park that can contribute towards research and scientific, technological and agricultural development. It will supplement the universities in the north, particularly the University of Science and Technology, which is one of the best universities in the Arab world, and many hospitals, most importantly the King Abdullah University Hospital.
Ensour ordered a review of the entire scheme of the area, in terms of reducing the space allocated for housing and multilateral trade services, which currently stands at about 41 percent of the area. He stressed that such a large percentage was not commensurate with the objective for this area was being established.
He also stressed the importance of developing plans and studies to give a boost to agricultural research.
The Prime Minister asked the Social Security Corporation (SSC) to update the required infrastructure services studies according to what is agreed upon between the government and the North Development Company, the main developer of IDA and owned by the SSC's investment fund, to meet the latest developments in the master plan. The SSC's investment fund will finance the infrastructure services at the expense of the government in a manner agreed upon by the two sides.
During the meeting, it was decided that the company will submit a monthly report to the Prime Minister on the progress and achievement in the area.
As for the wholesale market for vegetables and fruits, which was intended to be set up on a IDA piece of land, the Prime Minister asked the Ministries of Municipal Affairs and Agriculture in collaboration with Greater Irbid Municipality to search for an alternative site for the market, which will serve the four governorates of the north.
The president of the SSC's investment fund, Suleiman Hafez, said he valued the premier's and his team's visit as a strong indicator of the government's efforts to develop the governorates.
Hafez pointed to the close cooperation between the government and the SSC to execute the royal initiative, referring to the agreement between the two sides, as per which the government will provide infrastructure services to the IDA, while the North Development Company will be responsible for these services in the area.
The Director-General of the North Development Company, Nayef al-Bakhit, briefed the ministerial team on the work progress and challenges that the IDA faces.