|Expatriates increase remittances|
* Remittances made by Jordanian expatriates last year increased by 6 percent over 2001 to reach $2.13 billion (JD 1.52 billion). According to the Central Bank of Jordan, these remittances rose by 2.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2002 to JD 547 million. There are more than 450,000 Jordanians living and working in the world, most of them live in the Arab Gulf states. The bank, meanwhile, noted that remittances of non-Jordanian workers in the Kingdom to their respective countries amounted to JD 144 million last year. Labor Ministry statistics show that there are more than 300,000 foreign workers in Jordan.
IT sector’s exports to rise
* Jordan’s Information Technology sector is estimated at more than $300 million. The sector received $70 million in foreign investments last year, $10 million more than 2001. According to Information Technology Association of Jordan (Intaj), the IT sector’s exports in 2002 were $20 million. It noted that most of the IT firms in Jordan are developing new investments to promote the sector’s exports. Intaj is working on a study to evaluate the ins and outs of the local IT sector. More than 500 employees are working in the sector.
Easing difficulties in tourism
* The government has allocated JD 2 million for wages and interest rates to the tourism sector. Minister of Tourism Nader Al Dahabi said half of the aid would be in dues on loans obtained by private touristic companies, while the other half will be paid to employees who didn’t receive their salaries for months. The aid is part of the government’s support to tourism in view of the repercussions of the Iraq war. Al Dahabi, who also holds the Minister of Transport portfolio, said the government allotted JD 500,000 in aid to recompense truck drivers who were forced to suspend their activities because of the Iraq war.
IDB revenues doubled
* The Industrial Development Bank (IDB) increased its profits last year by 175 percent to JD 4.4 million. The bank will distribute 10 percent of its capital in dividends, as its revenues doubled in 2002 to JD 7.2 million. A new restructuring program is now underway in the bank, by revitalizing services and policies to adapt to the economic growth in the Kingdom. The bank’s sources indicated it would direct its attention to promote the small/medium enterprises in the Kingdom to support the government’s program on poverty and unemployment.
More banking profits…
* The Bank of Jordan made JD 8.03 million in net profits last year. This helped the bank to increase its capital by JD 1.8 million to JD 36.5 million. Deposits rose by 9.5 percent in 2002 to JD 616.1 million. Tawfiq Fakhouri, the bank’s chairman, indicated there will be increases this year, both in the bank’s revenues and services, due to expected rise in investment. Fakhouri pointed out the first quarter of 2003 showed a 30 percent increase in the bank’s performance and yield over the same period last year.
Restoring religious shrines
* An annual budget of JD 17 million has been allocated to the restoration and development of mosques and holy shrines in the Kingdom. Minister of Religious Endowments, Ahmad Hulail said the budget covers allowances and salaries of mosque guards, preachers and imams. The budget will also help in building new mosques in different parts of the Kingdom. Hulail said the ministry is also working on a JD 4 million project to fortify the infrastructure of the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, and restore its southern wall. This project is being supervised by Jordanian experts and is now in its final stages.
The Star Redaction