|Higher private salaries|
* Employees at the private sector would soon witness gradual rise in their salaries. News reports indicated this week that many companies would raise salaries to correlate with the recent hike in prices of basic commodities and the Sales Tax. Sources at the Amman Chamber of Trade pointed that employees in the private sector will also receive further financial assistance regarding the married and the ill. The sources said more increases would be offered in the future in line with the domestic economic situations.
Expatriates remit more
* Remittances by Jordanian expatriates rose to $2.2 billion in 2003, according to a report by the Central Bank of Jordan. It stated that these remittances increased by 2.2 percent over 2002. The report pointed out that the remittances rose over the past three years, when they “constituted a main source of foreign currencies and a backbone for the economy,” the report read. The CBJ report estimated the number of Jordanian expatriates at around 500,000 who mostly work in the Arab Gulf countries.
QIZ’s exports boom
* Exports by El Hassan Industrial Zone, in Irbid, during the first quarter of 2004 increased by 10 percent to $90.1 million in goods over the same period of last year. Exports, basically textile and garments, reached $48.7 million. Maher Al Nasser, president of the Irbid Chamber of Industry, said the zone’s exports are rising despite the political instability in the region. Last year, the zone made $321 million in total exports, almost same to these made in the previous year. Besides textiles, the zone also produces industrial tools, fertilizers, pharmaceuticals, marble and dimension stone.
Pharmaceuticals get a jab
* An Arab patient would spend, on average, around $5500 on medical treatment in Jordan, according to Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Dr Bassem Awadallah. He said that more than 100,000 Arab patients visited the Kingdom last year. He noted that the pharmaceutical sector in Jordan would enhance its exports over the coming few years, to over $1 billion in 2005. Such exports, which include pharmaceuticals and medical equipment, help in promoting the economic development in Jordan, Awadallah said. He pointed that the medical tourism in Jordan should be promoted to the Kingdom’s advanced technology. He pledged to support the medical sector with more development plans to help it overcome the mounting challenges.
Jordan Cement’s profit almost double
* Demand for cement products increased in 2003 by 4.5 percent over 2002, to 2.77 tons. Abdel Elah Khatib, chairman of the Jordan Cement Factories Co (JCFC), regarded last year’s performance as “remarkable and unprecedented.” He noted that the JCFC would include the recent hikes on fuel prices within its operational costs rather than raising the prices of its products. The company made JD 34 million in profits last year, compared to JD 19.5 million in 2002. JCFC’s General Assembly approved the allocation of more than JD 12 million in dividends.
Jordanian-Tunisian investments to flourish
* Tunisia and Jordan agreed to develop the bilateral investments in different fields. Haidar Murad, president of the Jordan Chamber of Commerce, said businessmen from the two countries would reach agreement soon to establish joint investments in both the industrial and commercial sectors, while Jordanian businesses can flourish in Tunisia and expand through the North African region. Tunisian Minister of Trade, Munther Zanaidi, pledged his government’s support to promote bilateral businesses. Zanaidi led a big delegation of businessmen who visited Jordan this week, and signed an agreement with Jordanian counterparts to facilitate establishing joint projects, both in Jordan and Tunisia.