CHAIRMAN OF THE JORDAN INVESTMENT COMMISSION
Jordan 2016 I Economy I Leader
NOW IS THE RIGHT TIME TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF ALL THE OPPORTUNITIES, MARKET ACCESS, AND TALENTS THAT JORDAN HAS TO OFFER.
CAN YOU GIVE US AN OVERVIEW OF THE JORDAN INVESTMENT COMMISSION AND ITS MAJOR ACHIEVEMENTS?
The Jordan Investment Commission (JIC) was established in May of 2014 to unify the various governmental investment agencies under one organization. JIC is primarily concerned with improving the business environment, promoting Jordan as a destination for foreign investment, facilitating registration and licensing procedures, and regulating Development Zones. To this end, the new Investment Law of 2014 was passed, which provides investors with the necessary guarantees and stability required to invest confidently in the Kingdom. The Law also instituted the Investment Window at JIC, which serves to centralize, streamline, and simplify all government procedures related to establishing a business in Jordan.
Part of our commitment to helping investors is launching an online portal to provide relevant information about investment opportunities and, more importantly, offer JIC’s registration and licensing services electronically. We are also working on dedicating five pilot Development Zones to host foreign investments that, based on the Jordan Compact that resulted from the Supporting Syria and the Region donor conference in London, will enjoy favorable access to the EU market in addition to the incentives they enjoy through the investment law (reduced corporate income tax and sales tax rates). JIC is also leading the push to continue reforming our economic regulations in line with international standards, and to maintain our position as a leading investment destination in the MENA region.
AS THE NEWLY APPOINTED CHAIRMAN OF THE JIC, WHAT ARE YOUR TOP PRIORITIES?
Our main challenge is distancing Jordan’s image from the turbulence that some countries in the region are facing. The MENA region cannot be painted with one brush, as many prosperous countries around us are developing and attracting investments. Our priority is to communicate clearly Jordan’s position as a progressive, safe and stable country that is very open and welcoming to investors. We plan on increasing our presence abroad by participating in targeted promotional missions and articulating specific investment opportunities to interested investors.
The second priority is maintaining our momentum in reforming the business environment. The Commission is expanding the number of sectors it serves through the Investment Window, in addition to continuing to work with concerned government entities to simplify requirements and reduce processing times related to issuing licenses.
WITH DIFFERENT CHALLENGES FACING THE REGION, HOW DOES JIC PLAN TO DEVELOP JORDAN’S FULL INVESTMENT POTENTIAL?
The Investment Law of 2014 was quite comprehensive and set the foundations for exploiting Jordan’s full investment potential. It has enabled JIC to move beyond traditional investment promotion activities. The legislative framework offered by the Investment Law is unique in that it allows private companies to establish their Development Zones with all the benefits and incentives that the Law provides. Investors will have authority over the zone and will be designated as Master Developers; where they can set up their facilities, develop the infrastructure, and attract more investors to locate within their zones. The purpose behind this arrangement is to allow more flexibility for the private sector within targeted geographical areas and specific economic sectors in areas that will have the greatest impact on local communities and the economy at large. This partnership is, however, reserved for larger investors that have both the financial and technical capabilities to manage such zones.
IN YOUR OPINION, HOW COMPETITIVE IS JORDAN ON ATTRACTING FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENTS IF COMPARED TO OTHER COUNTRIES IN THE REGION?
Jordan’s main competitive advantages over other countries in the region are its preferential trade agreements that allow investors to access a market of over one billion consumers. Jordan offers well-connected infrastructure and ready to occupy facilities within Development Zones across the Kingdom; each zone catering to specific economic activities which include: tourism, ICT, business services, manufacturing, industry, and renewable energy. Investors can also tap into the large pool of qualified, talented and bilingual labor which excels in ICT, engineering, and medicine. Finally, investors can rest assured that they are benefiting from a modern regulatory environment and a reform driven economic agenda that prioritizes the protection of investor rights.
WHAT IS YOUR FINAL MESSAGE TO FOREIGN INVESTORS?
Now is the right time to take advantage of all the opportunities, market access, and talents that Jordan has to offer. JIC will strive to be your trusted guide in identifying and realizing investment opportunities. We invite you to discover your success story here in Jordan.