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French Version

Business Scene

JORDAN (Star) - * The government is expected to launch a new three-year economic reform program in 2003. Minister of Finance Michel Marto said a supervising delegation from the International Monetary Fund is currently studying the economic situation in the Kingdom and will decide on a new reform plan by the summer.

This is hoped to be the last in Jordan's economic history. An IMF study predicts this year's economic growth in Jordan to reach 5 percent. Inflation is expected to make reach 3.5 percent. The IMF will provide Jordan $90 million as a final pledge towards the Jordanian economy.
* Jordan lost more than JD 200 million in 2001 as repercussions of car accidents. Statistics from the Jordan Traffic Institute indicate 800 people were killed in more than 50,000 car accidents. About 33 percent of those who passed away in car accidents were children. Last year's economic losses were mostly primarily due to medical costs for the injured and the damages resulting from these accidents.

* China has pledged a JD 6 million loan for the establishment of the Maan Industrial Zone later this year. The zone will be developed on an area of 800 dunums. The upcoming industrial zone will receive greater privileges to attract foreign investments. The government exempted all investments in Maan from taxes for the next 20 years to entice many other investments to the area. Most of the investments in the Maan area focus on fabric manufacturing.

* The government anticipates a JD 500 million revenue from privatization in 2002. Most of these revenues come from: electricity (JD 200 million), telecommunications (JD 120 million) and mining (JD 180 million). The government is now working on a project to privatize the Arab Potash Co (APC) by selling a portion of its shares to a strategic partner. A study by the Jordan Investment Board (JIB) indicated earlier the government would receive JD 125 million in return for APC's privatization, which is expected to become effective this October.

* The Jordan Cement Factories Co (JCFC) expects one million tons of cement to be produced for the Palestinian territories. The company has recently sold 14 percent of its capital­worth JD 32.3 million­to the Palestinian National Authority. The company is earning JD 23 million in annual exports with the government taking JD 25 million each year in revenue from privatization. The Palestinian takeover of JCFC's shareholding still awaits ratification by the Amman Stock Exchange.

* Jordan's telco sector has a new standard in neighboring countries, including Egypt. A recent report by the Arab Advisors Group indicates Egypt's GSM and fixed telephone networks are expected to make $3.17 billion in revenues by 2006. The PTSN revenues will make up 41 percent of total revenues in four years. Last year Egypt's GSM and fixed lines made $1.3 billion in revenues. In Jordan, revenues from such systems are less than 50 percent of their Egyptian counterparts.

* Capital in local companies established this year is estimated to be worth JD 24 million, a 77 percent increased over the same period last year. The number of newly established companies fell this year by 28 percent to 900 companies. Some JD 12 million of these companies are service sector enterprises. The commercial sector sits at JD 6.5 million.

* The Industrial Zones Corp is currently developing projects worth JD 11.6 million. The corporation earned JD 2.87 million in profits last year, while its operations revenues were worth JD 5 million. The corporation assets increased last year by 7.3 percent to JD 46 million. The corporation is a joint venture between the public and private sector in Jordan.

* The International Medical Investments Co (IMI) will dissolve itself later this year due to mounting losses. The company lost 6.7 percent of its assets, some JD 4.45 million, when many shareholders sold shares and forced company management into debts of more than JD 500,000 for 2001 alone.

The Star redaction
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