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French Version

Business Scene

The government is developing a new draft law for the sales tax. Sources at the Sales Tax Dept explained the new law would reschedule the commodities subject to the tax. Sources add preparations for the new law came after a recent visit by a World Bank delegation to the Kingdom.

The delegation urged the government to raise the sales tax in 2002 to adjust their balance of payments. Iyad Al Qdah, general director of the department, said his office is working with the appropriate authorities to develop the new law. Al Qdah added the new draft law should be in place early next year. * The Social Security Corp has JD 1.5 billion in investments. These are dispersed amongst 120 companies. Some still have not paid JD 3 million in allowances to the corporation. SSC sources noted they have sent reprimands to these companies to pay soon. Last year the corporation paid JD 5.5 million in allowances for industrial accidents. In the last 20 years the corporation has paid out JD 50 million for these accidents.

* Lloyds International has indicated it considers the Aqaba Sea an area of conflict. Minister of Transport Nader Al Dahabi said the London-based corporation asked the Aqaba seaport to pay increased insurance fees, estimated at $70 million per year, something which will hinder the flow of Jordanian exports to world markets. According to Al Dahabi, Lloyds raised the fees by 12.5 percent on normal cargo. He noted the seaport might be forced to ask foreign cargo ships and freights to pay for their insurance in return. A recent study reveals the Aqaba seaport is continuing to pay mounting insurance fees despite a lessening number of containers coming into the seaport. The study concludes the increase in insurance fees will prevent the Aqaba seaport from meeting its financial requirements. * Nearly 75 percent of Jordan's pharmaceuticals are scheduled for export. According to the Jordan Pharmaceutical Producers Association, the local pharmaceutical sector comprises about 12.5 percent of the GDP. The association warns most of the local exports face increasing competition from imported medicines due to the present pricing procedures pursued by the Ministry of Health. The ministry recently reduced the price of imported medicines by 8 percent making foreign medicine only 10 percent more expensive than local ones. The association said most Jordanian pharmacies have not complied with the ministry's decision. * Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) expects a six percent increase in revenue for 2001, putting revenues at JD 75 million. Last week the municipality approved a JD 86.6 million fiscal budget for 2002, the largest in GAM's history. The budget operates at a JD 11.6 million deficit. GAM Mayor Nidal Hadid said the municipality intends to offset the insufficiency by reducing expenditures. GAM's future projects for 2002-2007 include construction of new tunnels and paving streets estimated to cost JD 37.6 million.

* The Ministry of Labor is allocating JD 18 million for vocational rehabilitation next year. The program will be supervised by the Armed Forces, aiming to train and rehabilitate 10,000 young people in different vocations. The Vocational Training Corp will train nearly 6000 people. The remaining 4000 will be divided between the Armed Forces and the private sector. Sources at the Ministry said the program's main objective is replacing foreign labor with domestic.

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