You are here

Industrialists to meet with PM, ministers after boycott

By Omar Obeidat , Dana Al Emam - May 05,2015 - Last updated at May 05,2015

AMMAN — Industrialists are scheduled to meet next week with Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour and several ministers to discuss the sector’s challenges, according to sector officials.

The scheduled meeting comes after industrialists boycotted a meeting Ensour held with the private sector earlier this week due to their “disappointment with government policies that worsened their problems”.

Jordan Chamber of Industry (JCI) Director Maher Mahrouq told The Jordan Times on Tuesday that the meeting will discuss the “deep” challenges facing the sector.

However, he declined to provide further details on the meeting’s agenda due to the “private nature of the topics”.

“Our aim is to deal with the government as a partner, not to object to its decisions,” Mahrouq said.

He noted that the sector directly employs 1.25 million individuals and is the indirect source of income for half of Jordan’s families, citing its role in maintaining economic stability in the country.

Describing previous sector meetings with the government as “protocol”, Musa Saket, a board member of the Amman Chamber of Industry (ACI) and the JCI, expressed hope that next week’s meeting will result in the implementation of steps on the ground that help local industry.

He cited financing, employment, power tariffs and import fees as major challenges facing the industrial sector, calling for the formation of a ministerial team to follow up on these challenges with its representatives.

Saket urged authorities to develop laws that facilitate establishing renewable energy projects at factories in order to minimise the burden of electricity bills.

He noted that the two parties are still negotiating the meeting venue, as industrialists want the meeting to be held at the JCI, while government officials want it to take place at the Prime Ministry.

The location is of great significance, at least to Fathi Jaghbir, board member of the JCI and vice chairman of the ACI, who believes officials should visit the JCI to prove their earnestness in dealing with the sector’s demands, noting that Ensour has never visited the chamber.

Jaghbir told The Jordan Times that he is boycotting the upcoming meeting as well because it should not be exclusive to sector representatives.

“Officials should meet with as many people working in the field as possible and listen to the issues facing them directly,” he said, adding that industry is the main contributor to the national economy and the most sustainable sector.

Citing the Kingdom’s stability and security, Jaghbir asked: “Why can’t the government achieve what is less demanding like supporting such a job-creating sector?”

The industrialist noted that the frequent hikes in electricity tariffs, the lack of public-private partnership, the current investment climate and regulations governing the industry are the major challenges that must be addressed.

Since 2010, electricity prices almost doubled, which increased production costs for local factories and decreased the ability of Jordanian products to compete with other regional manufacturers, he noted.

“Jordan used to export to 130 countries across the world… but looking at store shelves now, one would find up to 90 per cent non-Jordanian products,” Jaghbir said.

In previous remarks to The Jordan Times, he said around 1,600 industrial establishments either closed down or moved to other countries over the past two years, leaving hundreds of Jordanians unemployed.

The industrial sector is the Kingdom’s largest employer, constituting around 25 per cent of the gross domestic product and 90 per cent of national exports, according to Mahrouq.

75 users have voted.


Get top stories and blog posts emailed to you each day.