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Business Scene

JORDAN (Star) - * A new Jordanian-UAE investment company was established in March at $50 million. The company aims to facilitate joint investments in the two countries.

The Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry approved Jordan Investment Board's acquisition of land areas in the UAE to establish gas and oil stations in the Gulf emirate. Earlier estimates suggest these stations would be valued at $15 million. Many UAE businessmen show much interest in establishing joint businesses with their Jordanian counterparts.
* The Exports and Finance Bank increased its profits last year by 75.7 percent to JD 5 million. The Bank's assets increased by 21.5 percent to JD 237.3 million. The operational revenues grew to JD 12.8 million last year. The Bank's 2001 financial statement noted last year's economic and political disturbances affected the bank's activities in different fields, however its credit risk management remained intact. The bank provided credit facilities worth JD 133 million.

* USAID's assistance program for small-medium enterprises in Jordan provided JD 14 million in small loans to 35 enterprises, both individual and in-groups. Women made 60 percent of the beneficiaries. USAID programs mainly operate through the government's Social Security Package, which aims to lessen poverty in the Kingdom.

* The Irbid governorate is expecting to receive JD 47.6 million in financial support for 2002. About JD 11.5 million of this is coming from the economic and social transformation program. The government also initiated recently a JD 25 million-Social Productivity Enhancement Program to enhance the social development plans not only in Irbid but also around the Kingdom.

* Jordan Steel Co made JD 3.4 million in profits last year, while its sales JD 28.8 million in 2001. For the Union Tobacco and Cigarette Factories Co, the 2001 profits went down by 11.7 percent on 2000 to register JD 4 million. Its sales also declined by 60 percent to JD 40 million last year.

* The International Islamic Arab Bank made JD 2.88 million in profits last year, an 8 percent decline over 2000. The Bank's Chairman, Abdel Hamid Shoman attributed the decline to the 11 September attacks on the US. The Bank's assets, however, increased by 28.5 percent to more than JD 253 million. The bank's operational profits were JD 7 million, while investment revenues JD 6.5 million.

* The government is allocating JD 5.5 million for the e-government project. Minister of Information and Communications Technology, Dr Fawaz Zu'bi said the project has plans to establish proper infrastructure for the e-government strategy-aiming to function mechanisms and regulations for the IT-related policies in all public departments. The e-government strategy is a three-year project launched earlier this year.

* Jordan is among the 13 Arab countries agreed to establish an inter-Arab railway to facilitate the civil and economic transport among Arab nations. The project is still in the blue-print stage and requires cost-efficient infrastructure to verify strong rail network among the countries of the region.

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