AMMAN –– Prime Minister Awn Khasawneh on Thursday regretted media attacks on some Arab and foreign investors, stressing that Jordan’s leadership and people welcome investments in the country.
The premier was responding to complaints made by Yousef Al Nowais, chairperson of the Abu Dhabi-based Al Maabar International Investments, who said that attacks by some media outlets on the company may drive away Gulf investors from the Kingdom.
Such attacks harm the reputation and the image of the firm, the businessman said, adding that Jordan is the largest investment market of the company, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.
Al Maabar International Investments, which is implementing the $10 billion Marsa Zayed project in Aqaba, is also carrying out investment projects worth $300 million in the field of hospitality.
The real estate and tourism mega-project is being built on the land where the Aqaba Port was located. Critics have attacked the deal as part of a “conspiracy to sell the country by selling assets to foreign investors”. The port land has been frequently cited as a clear example of the alleged scheme. The $500 million paid for the land has been used to pay foreign debts, but more government borrowing since the deal was made in 2005 left Jordan again in a crippling public debt crisis.
At the meeting, Khasawneh highlighted the vitality of foreign investments in Jordan’s economy, emphasising that the government is determined to remove obstacles facing investors.
The premier also said that Jordan welcomes investments coming from the UAE and all Gulf countries, urging the media to observe transparency when reporting facts related to the company and its investments in the Kingdom so the public can be informed on its contributions to Jordan’s economy.
Nowais indicated that the company intends to launch new investments in Jordan, which he said will create jobs and boost the tourism sector.
During a meeting earlier this week with ministers and directors of investment-related institutions, His Majesty King Abdullah instructed the government to improve the level of services and facilities provided to investors, particularly from the Gulf Cooperation Council states, by removing red tape that is hindering the business environment.
He said part of the problems and challenges facing the sector is related to the lengthy procedures taken between institutions, which impede the work of investors and drive them away, highlighting the need to change this image.
The Monarch noted that many investors in the Gulf, including ruling family members and sheikhs, came to Jordan to help but ended up complaining over the way work is done in Jordan and corruption accusations by some media outlets.