SECURE INVESTMENT

Jordan 2019 | ECONOMY | INTERVIEW

JIC is tasked with attracting foreign investment into Jordan by highlighting the competitive characteristics of the different governorates and the latest investor-friendly developments.

Fareedon Hartoqa
BIOGRAPHY
Fareedon Hartoqa is currently the Acting Chairman of JIC, the government entity responsible for investment promotion and export development. Prior to this, he worked with the USAID-funded Jordan Competitiveness Program (JCP) as Export Development Manager for the ICT sector. From 2004-2015, Hartoqa worked with the US Commercial Service at the American Embassy in Amman. He also worked for two years in the same position at the US Consulate in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. He was previously with Ahli Commercial Bank and Insurance Company in Saudi Arabia. He graduated from Jordan University and holds a BA in political science and economics and an MA in political science.

How does Jordan's new Investment Window streamline the processes for the registration and licensing of investment projects?

The Investment Window at JIC, or the one-stop window, is one of the most important means of empowering local and foreign investments by simplifying registration and licensing procedures for investment projects that benefit from the Investment Law. The Investment Window includes authorized representatives of the concerned government authorities who have the authority to issue approvals and licenses for investment projects, as well as qualified staff from the commission for procedure facilitation and follow-up. The services provided by the Investment Window include: providing information and technical advice to investors, registering companies and sole proprietorships within and outside the development zones, and issuing of licenses and approvals necessary for conducting business as well as issuing licenses for economic activities within development zones. The objectives of the Investment Window include: enhancing confidence in Jordan's investment environment by providing data, information, and facilities for the establishment of investment projects; streamlining procedures and decreasing the time required to issue required approvals and licenses for investment projects; and contribute to strengthening the status of local and foreign investments through diligent follow-up and support.

How will developments in e-government services influence the investment climate?

There is a growing recognition of the role that e-government has in promoting Jordan's attractiveness to foreign investors and improving investment climate. Therefore, the government is deploying e-government services as a promotion technique that helps to eliminate FDI barriers, in particular, those related to information retrieval and accessibility, business procedures, and bureaucratic protocols facing investors.

How does JIC ensure that investment reaches all governorates?

Jordan provides a comprehensive range of incentives and facilitation services to potential investors. The Jordanian government has undertaken numerous serious measures to review and enhance the economic and financial legal frameworks governing the investment process to take advantage of available opportunities to increase economic growth and promote development in the various governorates of the Kingdom. In addition to the income tax reduction regime in less-developed governorates, the investment map, which aligns with the Jordan 2025 vision, has analyzed the existing socioeconomic situation, investment environment, current and latent potentials, competitive characteristics, and strategic and development orientation of all governorates. The investment map identifies a number of medium- and small-scale investments in different economic sectors that have higher growth opportunities and labor-intensive qualities, complying with the competitive characteristics of different governorates, considering their visions and developmental strategies.

What are the most important investment opportunities or projects JIC is currently promoting, and what are the key value-added sectors?

JIC aims to provide an attractive investment environment for its value-added economic sectors. Based on the competitive advantage of Jordan in the region and through the analysis of investment opportunities and promotional strategies, the aim is to promote investment and Jordanian exports in promising sectors. The primary sectors of the economy that JIC focuses on are industrial, logistics, ICT, energy and renewable energy, water, transportation, tourism, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and agriculture. The development zones and free zones throughout the Kingdom provide all the needed infrastructure and services for investors to support their investment requirements in the aforementioned sectors.

Can you elaborate on the Kingdom's main advantages as an investment environment?

Jordan is well known for its skilled and highly educated human capital. Jordan ranks fourth overall in the MENA region in terms of talent competitiveness according to the 2018 Global Talent Competitiveness Index. Jordan's strong performance in this index points to the country's continuous efforts to develop its most valued resource. Labor costs in Jordan remain among the most competitive in the region, and with its large pool of high-caliber intellectual and professional expertise, Jordan is a major supplier of brainpower to neighboring countries. With such human capital, investors will have the necessary resources to ensure high-quality performance, which will reflect on their competitiveness and increase their ROI.