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Symposium paints gloomy picture of Jordan’s SMEs

By Hana Namrouqa - Dec 03,2014 - Last updated at Dec 03,2014

AMMAN — Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) received JD2 billion or 11.3 per cent of banks’ total financing in 2012, the chairman of Jordan Youth Economic Society indicated Wednesday during a symposium on empowering SMEs.

Noting that SMEs contribute 50 per cent to the Kingdom’s gross domestic product (GDP), account for 98.5 per cent of the overall number of companies in Jordan, and constitute 60 per cent of the total work force, Samer Kawar said SMEs still lack proper support and guidance, even with a roadmap drafted by the government for large investment projects.

Kawar listed entrepreneurship culture, access to funding and its cost, legal and bureaucratic hurdles, access to new markets, tax burdens, qualified work force, research and innovation, transportation and infrastructure as key challenges that face SMEs in Jordan.

He said world economies have activated SMEs to growth and development, and enabled them to  become main contributors to GDPs and employment.

Businessmen described SMEs and startups as key for economic development in the Middle East, particularly in Jordan, if they were empowered.

Rasha Rashed, project manager at Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, said SMEs play a basic role in economic growth, noting that SMEs constitute 70 per cent of operating companies in any country.

“SMEs sector plays an important role in accelerating economic growth by diversifying the resources and creating job opportunities. It guides the youth towards the private sector instead of the public sector and its limited vacancies,” Rashed said during the symposium.

The businessmen and entrepreneurs called on the government to approve a number of laws which they said will support the SMEs sector, including a bankruptcy law, moveable assets law and credit information law.

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