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Economists welcome decision allowing export of food products

By Rana Husseini - Apr 16,2020 - Last updated at Apr 16,2020

AMMAN — Economy experts on Thursday hailed a decision by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Supply Tareq Hammouri to resume the export of certain local products, saying the decision will revive the industrial sector.

“This is a good and timely decision because it will contribute in opening the door for the food industry to resume its work and start exporting products,” Economist Musa Saket told The Jordan Times.

On Wednesday, Hammouri announced that his ministry completed the process of evaluating the status of the Kingdom’s strategic stock of food and raw materials, which was aimed at identifying the status of the stock and the quantities available.

“The evaluation process indicated that the strategic stock of various supplies is in a very comfortable position and exceeds the safe limits of each commodity,” Minister Hammouri said.

The minister gave the greenlight for dairy products exporting since it is produced locally and covers the local market and there is surplus in its production.

The minister also decided to allow the export of 50 per cent of the local production of a variety of products, including canned food, vegetable oil products, ready-made sauces, coffee, marmalade, pickles and nuts.

However, some of the items that were banned from being exported included rice, sugar, legumes, feed and wheat in all its forms, since these substances are not produced locally.

Economist Wajdi Makhamreh told The Jordan Times the decision is timely since the COVID-19 crisis forced closure to many sectors, including the industrial sector.

“This is a strategic and positive decision that would reflect positively on the government, the sector itself and the employees,” Makhamreh stressed.

Makhamreh added that the decision will allow the food industry to resume its work and export its products, “which will result in providing some liquidity for the government because it will be collecting fees and taxes”.

The decision will also help the employees who are working in these industries to return to work and start earning their salaries, according to Makhamreh.

Saket concluded by saying that “it is very important for the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Supply to reexamine the decision every week or so, because things might change rapidly regarding the stock reserve within the industry sector.”

While chairing a National Policies Council (NPC) meeting on Wednesday that was attended by HRH Crown Prince Hussein, His Majesty King Abdullah called for creating a national database that details the strategic reserves of various sectors, especially the industrial, medical and agricultural ones.

Speaking at the Wednesday meeting with the King, Prime Minister Omar Razzaz outlined the government’s economic response plan to address the COVID-19 crisis and its implications, with measures to gradually resume operations in various economic sectors after the government, taking into account health and safety regulations, recently allowed food processing, pharmaceutical and export industries to resume operations.

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