Jordan gets new planning minister

Jordan has appointed a new cabinet minister following the sudden resignation of his predecessor, state-run TV said.

    The outgoing planning minister was said to be close to the King

    Tayseer Smadi was appointed minister for planning and international cooperation by royal decree, replacing economic strategist Bassem Awad Allah who resigned Saturday.

    No reasons were given for the resignation of Awad Allah, a close confidant of Jordan's King Abd Allah II who served as an economic strategist under the monarch for at least three years before taking his cabinet portfolio in 2003.
    Heavy criticism

    Awad Allah, a US college graduate, was unavailable for comment, but he has been under heavy criticism recently by parliamentarians over his handling of his portfolio, particularly the processing of aid projects and foreign grants.
    Smadi, his successor, had been the ministry's secretary general for one year before his appointment.
    Smadi's role will be to plan socio-economic, infrastructure and local development projects and negotiating international donor assistance to Jordan, a cash-strapped nation saddled by recession and foreign debts. 

    SOURCE: Agencies


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