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French Version

Business Scene

JORDAN (Star) - * Investments in the housing sector have reach JD 500 million. Experts in the field note the current political instability in the region is overshadowing the construction business.

Many projects were delayed due to a lack of funding. Jordan requires the construction of 36,000 flats every year, about 10,000 of which are built by local investors; Jordanians build the remaining 35,000. The majority of this construction occurs in Amman, Zarqa and Irbid.

* Al Hassan Industrial Zone sold $21.5 million worth of goods in February. Fabrics were the best seller with $14.7 million in sales followed by industrial inputs at $5.2 million. Israel, Iraq and the US were the top recipient nations for the zone's exports.

* The industrial sector in Jordan consumed more than $250 million in energy resources in 2000-about 32 percent of the Kingdom's total consumption of electricity. Studies show with better management the sector can save up to 55 percent of its consumption. Each operating factory in Jordan has been revealed to use up to 60 percent more than its actual energy needs.

* The value of outstanding unpaid, or bounced, checks increased in January to JD 47.7 million-a JD 5.5 million increase over December 2001. Jordanians passed some JD 1 billion in checks in January. Seventy percent of these were returned due to insufficient balances to cover them.

* Jordan Steel Co earned JD 3.4 million in profits for 2001, up 45.5 percent over 2000. The company also increased sales in 2001 by 55 percent to JD 28.8 million-its assets increased to JD 17.5 million.

* Jordan is Oman's eighth largest importer. The Kingdom's imports from Oman doubled last year to JD 31.2 million. Omani exports to Jordan include primarily fish and dairy products. Jordan's exports to Oman were worth JD 5.5 million in 2001, making up 1 percent of Oman's imports.

* United States aid to Jordan for 2002 is budgeted at $347.3 million. Half of this will come from the US Agency for International Aid (USAID) to support economic and social development projects. Aid will also go to help the private sector in Jordan through arrangements via the US-Jordan Free Trade Agreement.

* The Housing Bank for Trade and Finance (HBTF) increased profits last year by 82 percent to JD 30 million. The bank's operational profits were JD 26.1 million. Its assets increased 5.3 percent to JD 1708.8 million. HBTF's Chairman Zuhair Khouri explained the bank's success came through transactions in local and foreign markets. The bank's share holdings increased by 8.5 percent to JD 256.5 million.

* The 2004 census will require a JD 6.7 million budget. The government will grant JD 5 million to the General Statistics Dept who conducts the census. The remaining monies will come through foreign funding. Preparations are underway to ensure the census is both accurate and cost-efficient.

* The Aqaba Special Economic Zone's Authority received JD 6.5 million in revenues from taxes last year. Aqel Biltaji, ASEZ's president, said the revenues increased six fold since Aqaba's development as a special zone. He expects revenues to continue their increase judging by growing investments. In January of this year the ASEZ Authority received JD 547,000 in taxes.

The Star redaction
The Star

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