The Jordan Investment Commission (JIC), management and team, fully comprehend the magnitude of the responsibilities that we have been entrusted with, the challenges that need to be addressed, and the opportunities that must be seized. With the combination of our Investment Law No. 30 for the year 2014 and three-year investment promotion strategy, we stand at the threshold of a new stage in Jordan’s development. Over the past year, we have been working hard as a team to plot our course for next five years through the difficult terrain of budget pressures, global economic uncertainty, and continued regional insecurity.
The Jordanian government has made a number of changes in the legislative, regulatory and institutional fields that led to an improvement in investment related procedures in the Kingdom. This has accumulated in promoting the advancement of Jordan’s business environment by empowering the investment window, and equipping it with the right tools to reduce bureaucracy. By simplifying the registration and licensing procedures it will enable us to attract and retain foreign investment and stimulate domestic investments.
Aiming to further improve its services, the JIC has set up an electronic investment window (E-Portal) which will allow investors to register companies, progressively obtain investment incentives, and receive licensing and tax exemptions online. Furthermore, we launched the licensing guide which includes comprehensive information on steps and requirements needed to use investment window services. The guide simplifies and ensures clarity of the registration and licensing process while guaranteeing the highest level of services.
With a goal of attracting economic growth within specific regions of the Kingdom, there will be an additional income tax exemption, ranging between 40% and 95%, which will be offered to certain economic activities operating in developing areas in the Kingdom for a duration of up to 20 years.
Despite the investment law not designating any specific investment incentives for the ICT sector, the Jordanian government has adopted a recent decision by the Council of Ministers, issued on May 2016, that provides specific investment incentives for selected activities within the information technology sector.
The ultimate goal is to stimulate economic development within the Kingdom JIC has finalized the investment map project, an initiative that provides investors with 240 project ideas and 120 pre-feasibility studies in different sectors. With the investment map, the desired outcome is to open up more prospects for the private sector to promote trade, investment, and tourism.
With the success of the project, Jordan will have the ability to provide a gateway for investors to access more than one billion consumers by taking
advantage of Jordan’s free trade agreements. JIC prepared a creative, state-of-the-art advertising campaign to spread awareness through audio-visual mediums in order to introduce our new investment slogan, “Select Jordan”. The aim is to facilitate job creating business investment into Jordan, and raise awareness of the critical role that foreign direct investment (FDI) plays in the Jordanian economy.
THE CORE MESSAGE PRESENTED TO INVESTORS IS THAT JORDAN HAS A STABLE AND SECURE ECONOMY WITH A WORLD-CLASS INFRASTRUCTURE SUPPORTED BY A MODERN LEGISLATION
Jordan’s reform approach is based on the principle of continuous evolution by systematically introducing necessary building blocks of reform and democratization.
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is committed to promoting investments for the purposes of achieving comprehensive and sustainable economic development, accessing global markets, increasing competition, improving availability of high value-added job opportunities, and funding development projects.
I am pleased to invite the business community to “Select Jordan” by taking advantage of new investment opportunities, making use of Jordan’s open communication channels, and exploring our expansive and promising sectors. Let me emphasize the commitment of the Investment Commission in opening doors for all investors, connecting them with our private sector, and providing them with all the necessary information needed
to facilitate their decision to invest in Jordan.
Thabet El Wir
Chairman of the Jordan Investment Commission
THE FUTURE OF FOREIGN INVESTMENT IN JORDAN
As external geographical pressures continue to hinder foreign investment in the region, Jordan pushes forward with reforms and initiatives with the hope of building the Kingdom into a secure and promising investment hub.
Chairman of the Jordan Investment Commission, Thabet El Wir, believes that as Jordan continues to facilitate promising reforms and reduce bureaucratic red tape, more foreign and domestic investors continue willing to invest in Jordan’s future.
Who are the biggest Arab and foreign investors in the
Kingdom, by nationality?
France, Kuwait and the UAE are considered the biggest investors in the Kingdom.
In numbers, did foreign investment in Jordan increase or decrease in 2015/2016? And why?
Size of foreign investments amounted to JD 551 million in 2016 compared with a JD 705 million in 2015. This drop in foreign investment is due to the continuous turbulence facing the region. This has affected the performance of major economic indicators. There are sectors that the investment law targets for favorable tax and customs rates in addition to exemptions and incentives, wherever they are based in the country. These sectors are: industry; agriculture; hotels; hospitals; entertainment cities; research centers; media production; convention centers; distribution; extraction of water, gas and oil derivatives using pipelines; air transport; sea transport; railways and ICT.
How do you see foreign investment in Jordan in 2017?
JIC aims to provide an attractive investment environment for its value-added economic sectors. Based on the competitive advantage of Jordan in the region, through the analysis of investment opportunities and promotional strategies, the aim is to promote investment and Jordanian exports in promising sectors. A new compact with the EU relaxes stipulations on the rules of origin. More relaxed rules of origin will grant preferential access to Jordanian goods containing as much as 70% non-local materials. This agreement covers 52 product groups manufactured in 18 industrial and development zones.
The compact is set to attract both local and foreign investment, as well as open new markets that will support a wider diversity of exports.
In addition to stimulating the flow of exports, the deal also represents an opportunity for attracting more foreign investment to Jordan.
What were your most prominent achievements in attracting investors to the Kingdom in 2016, and what are your plans for 2017?
Aligning with Jordan’s economic development policy, JIC created a three-year investment promotion strategy and implementation plan. The aim is to provide the basis for the Jordan Investment Commission (JIC) to increase both domestic and foreign direct investment (FDI) into Jordan.
Within JIC, the Investment Promotion Department (IPD) has the responsibility of developing and implementing investment promotion programs to attract and retain both foreign and domestic investment.
The IPD’s mission involves marketing Jordan as an investment location by identifying, facilitating, and supporting investment projects to be located in Jordan. The aim is to deliver benefits from investment projects in Jordan, notably in investment capital and additional, better quality jobs. In addition, the IPD will work to network and advocate for improvements in Jordan’s investment environment [i.e. to make Jordan more attractive and competitive as a location for investment], and also encourage the development of linkages and clusters in Jordan.
A critical part of the Strategy involves establishing a framework for investment promotion, which sets out the objectives, outcomes and key functions needed to deliver JIC’s mandate. The IPD will use this strategic framework to guide its operations and to deliver the Strategy effectively and efficiently.
Many foreign investors have complained of high running costs, continuous changing regulations, and taxation. Do you think the government is doing enough to change this perception?
Jordan provides a comprehensive range of incentives and facilitations to potential investors, including an optimum environment for investors. The Jordanian Government has, across its successive terms, undertaken numerous measures to review and enhance the economic and financial legal
framework governing the investment process. Their aim is to take advantage of available opportunities by increasing economic growth and promoting economic development in the various governorates of the Kingdom.
Investment Law no. 30, 2014 is considered an appropriate legislative framework to attract foreign investments and stimulate local investments. It is considered a competitor to other investment laws in the region because it contains many advantages, incentives, and guarantees. The law offers a range
of incentives and benefits in and outside development and free zones.
Did the one-stop shop succeed in reducing registration time for investors?
The Commission was founded for the purpose of unifying the various investment authorities and relevant legislation. Its purpose is to enhance performance levels, reduce duplication and overlapping roles, [enhance] functions and powers of the aforementioned authorities, as well
as minimize bureaucracy in connection with investment procedures. This is achieved through the Commission’s work in supporting the investment environment in Jordan by simplifying and facilitating the establishment of investment projects in Jordan, and [improving] the process
for obtaining vocational…licenses via the establishment of the investment window.
The investment window comprises of representatives from various governmental bodies, effectively providing a “one stop shop” for the registration and licensing of investment projects. The Commission further aims to improve the legislative framework and regulations related to investments,
and enhance the incentives granted to investors.
What are some of the main local and regional challenges prohibiting Jordan from attracting more foreign investments?
The deepening political unrest in the region has led to a near complete closure of the boarders with Iraq and Syria, resulting in deterioration of most economic indicators, primarily external sector indicators. [These include a decrease in] domestic exports…travel receipts and foreign direct investment (FDI) flows.
His Majesty King Abdullah II had the greatest impact in promoting economic reform programs by making tremendous efforts in attracting value added investments. [This helped us] to reach our FDI targets and maximize the role of the private sector to provide adequate employment opportunities for Jordanians.