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SSIF assets grew by 7.8% to reach JD10.98b in 2019 — chief

By JT - Jan 18,2020 - Last updated at Jan 18,2020

AMMAN — The Social Security Investment Fund's (SSIF) total assets grew by 7.8 per cent at the end of 2019 to reach JD10.98 billion, compared with JD10.19 billion at the beginning of 2019, according to the preliminary financial statements, SSIF CEO Kholoud Saqqaf has said.

The SSIF’s income also increased to reach JD559 million by the end of 2019, compared with JD434 million at the end of 2018, marking a 29-per cent growth. According to Saqqaf, this was due to the growth of dividends, returns on fixed income instruments, financial lease loans and real estate investments, according to a statement from the fund. 

Based on its strategy, the SSIF expanded its real estate investments portfolio during 2019 by purchasing properties at an estimated cost of JD70 million. 

As a result, its real estate portfolio's total value grew to reach around JD667 million at the end of 2019, Saqqaf said in the statement.

The SSIF also expanded its investments in a number of public shareholding companies that are characterised by "solid financial positions and stability in dividends streams", such as the Arab Bank, the Etihad Bank, the Jordan Islamic Bank and Safwa Islamic Bank, he added. 

Saqqaf noted that the return on the bond's portfolio amounted to JD345 million with a rate of return of 5.9 per cent, the highest rate of return achieved by the fund’s investment instruments in comparison with the associated low risk level. 

In 2019, SSIF began renovation of the Crowne Plaza in Petra, which is expected to open mid-next year. Furthermore, the fund revisited the management agreements with its five- and four-star hotel operator, InterContinental Hotels Group and improved the contractual terms to ensure that these hotels become more competitive, provide better services and achieve better returns.

The SSIF also established three solar energy stations with a capacity of 15 megawatts to provide electricity to the hotels owned by the Social Security Corporation (SSC), SSC branches and the SSIF headquarters. The project will reduce the SSC’s annual utility bill by $10 million, the statement said. 

The fund is also financing a number of infrastructure projects through financial lease with a total investment of JD320 million, including Amman's new customs centre, Tafilah public hospital, Maan military hospital and the BRT project between Amman and Zarqa, Saqqaf said in the statement.   

Additionally, a number of memoranda of understanding (MoU) have been signed with different parties to explore establishing new projects in vital sectors and exchange experiences, he added.

The SSIF signed MoUs with the Palestinian Pension Authority, Meridian/Jordan, the Investment Commission, Investments Management Company and Islamic ‎Awqaf Directorate, in addition to the Ministry of Tourism, the Jordan Tourism Board and the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature, according to the statement.

In alignment with the SSIF’s efforts to entrench the concept of governance for representatives of companies’ board of directors, Saqqaf said that SSIF has set an extensive capacity-building programme to enhance the abilities and performance of these representatives in accordance with corporate governance best practices, the statement added.

The SSIF also originated a corporate governance manual that outlines a comprehensive monitoring system that seeks to strengthen governance, improve financial performance and promote responsible business practices in these companies.

Moreover, the SSIF granted JD70 million as personal loans for SSC pensioners, as part of the corporation’s programme to promote small development projects of pensioners, where beneficiaries exceeded 28,000 at the end of 2019.

The SSIF CEO said that a number of potential investment opportunities are under study in infrastructure, energy, healthcare and education in partnership with the private sector.

Saqqaf concluded by saying that the reports of the fund’s financial performance and its investments are available on the following website: www.ssif.gov.jo.

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