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Investment image

Apr 20,2015 - Last updated at Apr 20,2015

Jordan’s image as a hub for foreign direct investment is being challenged due to recent squabbles with foreign investors in a very unsubtle manner.

It stands to reason that any dealings, especially with large investors, should be on the level, completely transparent and defensible.

The country’s reputation and leadership established goodwill should be safeguarded and constantly buttressed. No small developing country like Jordan can afford to project a negative image when it comes to upholding its agreements and commitments to foreign investors.

The folly of rash decisions wreaks havoc on the country’s image for decades to come.

The fact that an investor is no longer allowed to enjoy a right he was contractually offered and accepted as one of several conditions for his investment in a large Jordanian company, should raise eyebrows everywhere.

News that an important foreign investor with an investment portfolio of over $100 billion who only a few years ago was treated with the utmost respect and professionalism is now being played should not be a welcome topic in any government department or office in the Kingdom.

The damage, should the word spread or the issue escalate, reaching another international court or arbitration case will be insurmountable.

FDIs play several roles in the Kingdom; among them, creating jobs, infusing superior managerial and technical skills and needed capital, and securing an influx of foreign currency.

In addition, given that Jordan has a stubborn balance of payments deficit, every foreign investment should be treated with the greatest care and respect.

One is neither asking the government to be hospitable or well mannered; what is being asked is for the government to uphold the commitments made by previous Cabinets.

It is in the best interest of a country to honour its government’s commitments, regardless of who is in the manager chair.

Investors do not care who is or will be in charge; they have contracts and agreements with the government of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and these agreements should be honoured in full by every Cabinet.

Any derogation, actual or perceived, should be immediately addressed and remedied at the highest level.

Investors have every right to protect their investment and the income they generate, especially if they are asking simply for what their investment agreements stipulate.

If in the recent past they (and their partner, the government through the Social Security Investment Fund) used to make hundreds of millions and are now losing money, and they desire to make managerial decisions or changes to improve corporate affairs, they should be entitled to do that, especially if their investment agreements allows that (a “right” granted by one Cabinet should not become a “wrong” for another) and because the alternative is for them (and the government) to lose hundreds of millions in profits, taxes, fees and stock value.

In fact, the government should worry if a company used to make hundreds of millions and is now losing or making close to nothing.

 In the business world, managers are usually fired when they do not do well. 

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