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French Version

Arab Business Community Forum meets in Amman

More than 500 Jordanian and Arab businessmen attended the 4th Arab Business Community Forum in Amman between August 15-16 at the Radisson SAS Hotel.

Deputizing for His Majesty King Abdallah, Prime Minister Adnan Badran opened on Monday the meeting which was organized by the Economy and Development Department at the Hashemite Royal Court; Jordan Businessmen Association (JBA); and Jordan Investment Board (JIB), with a view to familiarize participants with the investment climate as well as the promising economic sectors in Jordan.

JBA President Hamdi Tabbaa’ delivered a welcoming speech in which he noted that the Forum aims at acquainting conferees with the economic developments and achievements in the Kingdom. “The Jordanian economy witnessed positive developments in various sectors,” Tabbaa’ said, pointing out that the economy’s growth rate has reached 7 percent. He also underlined the role of agreements signed between Jordan and various Arab and foreign counties in attracting investments and creating encouraging investment climate. “Jordan’s secure and stable climate contributed to making Jordan a gate to major markets in the world,” he said, referring to some projects which were announced during the World Economic Forum, held this year in Jordan.

Speaking on the second day of the meeting, Badran reaffirmed his government’s determination to eliminate all forms of bureaucracy and administrative barriers that may impede local and foreign investors’ activities in Jordan. The prime minister said, “The government also intends to amend laws and legislation in order to ensure growth of investments in an atmosphere of freedom and economic openness.” He defended the policy of privatization and queried the intentions of all the objectionists who decry privatization after they have witnessed the benefits it has brought to the various industries, compared to the unsatisfactory performance prior to privatization; the best example is exhibited in the presently multi-billion productive telecommunications sector. The government would be downsized in favor of the private sector’s role in the economy, but it would retain its monitoring and guiding aspect to safeguard the legal and sound implementation of business codes.

Badran assured investors that their investment projects in the country are safe “due to the prevailing security and stability that the kingdom enjoys not necessarily in the literal sense of security but mainly in the stable monetary and financial policies as well as economic legislation”. He went on to highlight the positive economic indicators over the past few years, especially in realized economic growth, together with an increase in national exports and the volume of investment. “The government plans to improve tax collection systems without increasing tax rates,” he said.

Badran outlined the main features of the comprehensive modernization and development plan being implemented by the government, referring in particular to the drastic reforms in the field of education and higher education. He also talked about major projects in transport and energy sectors that will be open for local and foreign investors. Among the projects he disclosed is King Abdallah II Medical University at Prince Hamzah Hospital in Amman, to be announced soon, an expansion project of Queen Alia International Airport to absorb 12 million travelers instead of the present level of less than one million, and a railway line between Amman and Zarka.

In reply to a question about energy derivation through oil shale extraction, Badran said that as yet no sufficient research and development have been implemented on this topic, but that titration may offer the best option to the Jordanian oil shale estimated at 42 billion tons in the Lajoun region alone. He indicated that the natural gas deal with Egypt is by far the most economic form of energy available at present, and could save the country almost half its energy bill, when it is fully implemented throughout the kingdom. The prime minister disclosed “the existence of a master plan to expand Aqaba Port, with a view to involving the private sector in the services and functioning of the port activities”.

Badran congratulated the Palestinian Authority on the liberation of the Gaza Strip and announced the intention of establishing, according to His Majesty’s recommendation, a joint industrial zone between Jordan and Palestine with the participation of investors from both sides to forge a greater economic cooperation between both peoples.

The Star

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