|Duty on Iraqi trucks
*Hatem Halawani, acting president of the Jordan Chamber of Industry, urged the government to ease the obstacles that hinder the flow of Jordanian exports to Iraq. He was referring to high freight costs and procedures that hinder the entry of Iraqi exports to Jordan. Last week, the government imposed a duty on every Iraqi truck loading in Jordan.
Halawani said that many Iraqi merchants have directed their attention to other countries in the region. Jordan’s exports to Iraq reached JD 360 million last year, up 14 percent over 2003. Exports to Iraq constitute about 40 percent of the Kingdom’s overall exports to the Arab markets.
More US aid expected
* Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, Tayseer Smadi said Jordan has asked the United States to increase its aid this year to the Kingdom by $200 million to be distributed equally between civilian and military use. The US government already endorsed $456 million to Jordan in 2005, of which $250 million would support the Kingdom’s economic development programs. The US Congress is expected to endorse further aid to Jordan later this month.
RJ facilitates Iraqi flights
* Royal Jordanian (RJ), the national carrier, signed an agreement this week with the Iraqi Ministry of Transport to facilitate the travel of passengers between Baghdad and Amman. The agreement also stipulates the reopening of the Iraqi Airlines offices in Amman. RJ was the first carrier to operate flights to Baghdad few months after the US-led occupation of Iraq on March 2003. RJ presently runs two weekly flights to Iraq.
Overseas stock-brokerage scrutinized
* A ministerial committee urged the government last week to stipulate a draft law to regulate the transactions of stock brokering companies on world financial markets. The committee said that such a law would be available through coordination between the Jordan Securities Commission, the Central Bank of Jordan and the Companies Comptroller Department. Besides the transparent accounts of these companies, the committee also pointed the need to follow-up all financial transactions made by these companies, and inspect their legality. According to the committee, there are 100 companies that are unlicensed and conduct stock brokerage in world markets estimated at $500 million a day.
JKB applies new system
* The Jordan Kuwait Bank (JKB) launched last week its new Management Information System, using business solutions applied by the United Business Machine and its partner, Silverlake. The data warehouse project implementation, which is the first of its kind on a regional level with 100 percent utilization, empowers the bank with a capability to generate reports automatically and combine multi reports in a faster and accurate process. JKB’s Chairman, Abdel Karim Kabariti, said, “Accuracy and speed are crucial factors in the success of any bank; the implementation of this new system will enable us to enhance the level of our services, respond to the requirements of our customers faster and guarantee customer satisfaction.”
Umniah kicks off in June
*It was announced this week that the third GSM operator in Jordan, Umniah, would launch its services in summer, preferably June. Sami Jarrar, director of Umniah’s Human Resources Department, said the company has already employed 150 skilled and well-trained staff that would run the company’s operations around Jordan. Umniah has selected China’s largest equipment manufacturer, Huawei Technologies to roll out its GSM-1800 network in time. Jarrar said the company wants to sign up residential and small enterprise customers, and expects to boost Jordan’s cellular penetration rate from the current 32 percent to 60 percent within the next seven years.