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French Version

Business Scene

The World Economic Forum will convene an Extraordinary Annual Meeting in Jordan under the patronage of His Majesty King Abdallah. More than 1,900 business, political, religious, academic and other leaders from around the world are expected to participate in the venue from 21 to 23 June this year.

Under the theme "Visions for a Shared Future," the discussions will include exchanges on such vital issues as the state of transatlantic relations, the future of the Middle East, the need to improve global economic performance and the effort to build a world more secure for all citizens.

"This event is taking place at a crucial time for the Middle East and for the world," The King said. "Let us refocus our energies on peace. It is time to show the world that the Middle East is ready for reform, development and growth. It is time to redouble our efforts to make sure there is peace in the region."

Klaus Schwab, Founder and President of the World Economic Forum, agreed. "Never before in my 32 years of convening World Economic Forum meetings have I seen a period when dialogue among world leaders was more necessary. We need to remind ourselves of our common destiny as citizens of this world. We want to facilitate a dialogue in which business, political and religious leaders from all countries can redefine the values they share and hash out a common vision of the future," he said.

By making the unprecedented decision to host a full-scale "extraordinary" Annual Meeting, the World Economic Forum wants to bring "the Spirit of Davos" to the Middle East in a period of profound global tension. "We have to overcome the negative atmosphere which is prevailing in today’s politics and which creates so much pessimism in the global economy," Professor Schwab pointed out. "We must find a way of replacing the recent period of confrontation with a spirit of cooperation," he added.

Jordan is a very appropriate place to begin this important dialogue because the country is a leader in political, economic and social reforms in the Middle East. "We very much appreciate the positive role that Jordan has played in the quest for peace, and the leadership that His Majesty King Abdallah II has demonstrated," he concluded. n

New potash projects

* The Arab Potash Company will distribute 18 percent of its capital in dividends to its shareholders. The company made JD 15.4 million in profits last year, JD 13 million less than 2001 level. Issa Ayoub, the APC’s chairman, said the company is undergoing privatization, which is expected to be completed by the end of this year. APC reduced its investment in associate firms by 5.6 percent to JD 29.6 million, which includes the total selling of its shares in the Exports and Finance Bank and the Jordanian Maritime Lines Company. New projects under study include: Production expansion capacity, production of industrial potash and construction of a thermal power station.

JWA increase revenue and expenditure

* Jordan’s Water Authority’s revenues totaled JD 74.7 million for 2002, an increase of 5 percent over 2001. Expenditures declined by 8 percent to JD 176.9 million over the same period. It is estimated that revenues for 2003 will reach JD 94.5 million while expenditures will increase to JD 283.7 million. JWA will contribute the amount of JD 28.8 million to the government’s socio-economic transformation plan. JWA announced it would refrain from submitting new tenders in the future until funds are appropriated for each project.

Aid package to ease crisis

* Japan is to grant Jordan $100 million to overcome the repercussions on the economy caused by the war in Iraq. The grant is a part of Japan’s aid package to Jordan for the year starting April 2003. Mr John Yusida, first secretary at the Japanese embassy in Amman, pointed out that the aid package aims to alleviate the economic crisis arising from the stoppage of Iraqi oil supplies to Jordan plus the cessation of traffic through Jordan to Iraq.

JPRC’s balance sheet deficit persist

* During the annual general meeting of the Jordan Petroleum Refinery Co., it was revealed that profits for the year 2002 were JD 4.5 million, JD 1.7 million less than 2001. However, sales increased by more than JD 75 million to JD 693 million. JPRC will distribute 12 percent of its paid capital to its shareholders. Mr Abdul Hamid Shoman declared that a deficit arising from the government’s previous agreement with JPRC, by which extra profits were to be paid to the former, has imposed a heavy burden on the balance sheet. This action demanded the servicing of the deficit at a yearly rate not exceeding a certain level, as profit allocation cannot fall below 7.5 percent annually.

Surge in bad cheques for March

* Bad cheques for the first quarter of 2003 amounted to JD 128.6 million , that is 6.15 percent of the total amount of cheques of JD 3.017 billion circulated in the same period. Over half the amount of these returned cheques were rejected due to insufficient account credit. During last March, the value of bad cheques rose to JD 53.3 million of a total amount JD 1.158 billion in circulation. 47,300 cheques bounced during March valued at JD 53.3 million which is 4.6 percent of the total amount circulated. February’s figures were 34,800 bad cheques valued at JD 37.2 million forming 4.2 percent of the total.

The Star

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