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New investment law a ‘positive step’, key lies in implementation, say economists

By Batool Ghaith - Jan 24,2022 - Last updated at Jan 24,2022

New investment law aims to enhance existing investments, cut red tape and attract Arab and foreign investors to Jordan, according to Prime Minster Bisher Khasawneh (JT file photo)

 

AMMAN — A new law envisaged to develop the investment and business climate must take a holistic approach, say economists.

During the first meeting of the Steering Committee for the Development of the Legislative Environment Regulating Investment in Jordan on Sunday, Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Bisher Khasawneh said that the committee will work on developing the new law in partnership with the private sector. 

The new law aims to enhance existing investments, cut red tape and attract Arab and foreign investors to Jordan, the PM said.

Khasawneh noted that the new law will unify legislation related to investment and business in Jordan in accordance with the best international practices.

The prime minister highlighted a three-track approach to bolster the investment environment.

The first relates to quick procedures by creating a single window for establishing, registering and licensing economic activities, so that companies obtain a business licence within one day.

The second aspect works on reducing production costs on a number of vital economic sectors, the PM said, citing the new electricity tariff introduced by the government.

The third track regulates legislation related to the investment and business environment in Jordan, in a way that contributes to promoting investment and reducing obstacles facing investors, Khasawneh said.

Economist Husam Ayesh noted that in terms of laws and policies, Jordan witnessed “great developments” over the years, however, “there was no real difference in investment volume and its increase, unfortunately”.

“Amending the investment law is a positive step if implemented in a correct manner with all necessary details,” Ayesh told The Jordan Times on Monday.

He stressed that the new law must consider the competence of employees who deal with investors and the investment process as they must have the right training and skills.

“There must be one official authority which is responsible for the information that the investor needs, and this must be present in the new law. We also need courts operating in English or foreign languages,” Ayesh added.

“We must also shift focus from big businesses and investments to medium and small-sized businesses too,” he added.

Economist Mazen Marji said that the new law must adapt to changes and address any defect in the process of attracting investment.

Apart from developing the law, other obstacles to investment and investors must be addressed in order for the law to be “truly feasible”, Marji told The Jordan Times over the phone.

“The decline in investment is not due to a lack of laws and legislation, as they have been in existence since 1995. We must work on solving the problems that push investors to return to their country and address the reasons that motivate Jordanians to invest abroad,” he added.

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