By Callum Paton.
Amman 1 October 2013:
The director of Jordan Hotels Association has said that despite recent payments by the Libyan government, . . .[restrict]there remain significant outstanding Libyan debts to Jordanian hotels.
Speaking to the Libya Herald, Yasar Majali said that around $127 million was still owed to Jordanian hotels. This assertion flatly contradicts recent claims in Tripoli that the file had been closed on the case after a payment last week amounting to just under $60 million.
In the aftermath of the 2011 revolution some 80,000 Libyan wounded were transferred to Jordan to receive medical treatment in Jordan, paid for by Libya.
This financial support was also extended to the families of the injured. These relatives ran up a multi-million dollar bill in Jordanian hotels, as they waited for months and in some cases years for their loved-ones. It had been agreed that the Libyan Ministry of Health would also settle these bills.
.”They [the Libyan Government] are in the process of paying but they still haven’t payed,” the Hotel Association director said, “Some of the hotels got their money this week and the rest are still waiting.” Majali claimed that fully four out of five Jordanian hotels that had accommodated Libyans, on the basis of government guarantees, were still awaiting payment.
He also explained that the majority of hotel bills was still being audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the international accountants appointed by Health Minister Fatima Hamroush in February to audit all charges.
“The number is huge and the hotels are suffering” said Majali. He pointed out that the unsettled Libyan accounts were only adding to the woes of the Jordanian hotel sector, which is suffering from the crises in Syria and Egypt.
The loss of cash-flow was having a knock-on effect. He said he knew of four cases where hotel managements were themselves being sued by suppliers for unpaid bills.
Blaming the current situation on bureaucratic delays and personal disagreement within the different groups involved, Majali said he remained optimistic. If the recent settlement was repeated, he thought all outstanding debts could be settled in October.
He said he had recently had a meeting at the Libyan embassy in Amman.
“You have to be realistic when talking about the situation in Libya”, he explained, “for a country with such large reforms in the government, the army and the police, everything is being changed but still the impact will be hard on people in Jordan.”
The hotels chief commended the “huge importance” of Jordan’s relationship with Libya and his hopes that the two countries would prosper together in the future.
The Libyan government said Sunday that debts have been paid to Jordan’s hotels at a discount of between ten and twenty percent, an arrangement agreed between Jordanian hoteliers, the Ministry of Health and PricewaterhouseCoopers. [/restrict]