Let’s Break More Taboos

By Fahed Khitan

تم نشره في Wed 21 February / Feb 2018. 01:00 AM
  • Fahed Khitan

The Council of Ministers took a bold decision a few days back.

In an attempt to encourage investment in Jordan, the government will grant investors permanent residencies or nationalities, according to a clear-cut set of conditions, at an annual ceiling of 500 applications.

Jordan’s economy has lost a lot over the years.

Had this step come earlier, it could have helped mitigate the weight of the current economic crisis.

To our luck, as usual, the decision came at a time when the entire region is suffocating under the weight of terrible crises that have rendered the regional market inaccessible.

As a result, Jordan’s place as a strategic point of liaison and gateway to the region has regressed.

However, the government is hoping that Jordan will become the operational launching platform for reconstruction projects in the region. Their wager is that investors and global corporations would rather operate through a stable access point, close to the target markets.

Jordan, that in mind, is the right place to launch these projects.

The only chance our economy has, at this point, is to develop the economy’s attractiveness for incoming investment and build a business-friendly environment and dynamic. One which will allow for businesses to diversify and for the economy to expand its base in a way that would drive economic growth.

The last thing people will do is tie this decision to political agendas, namely settlement.

Only millionaire can acquire the nationality, and the millionaires do not really need a nationality.

Many countries in Europe offer nationalities to investors for much less.

This is aside to the unrestrained movement and trade option Jordan provides as an access point to the Eurozone and the USA.

 Let us be clear.

Settlement is one of the Jordanians’ biggest fears.

The greatest fear resulting of it is that Jordan will remain under the mercy of donor states and their humiliating terms.

Jordan has already made it clear that it will not allow for settlement and the Palestinian people are holding on to their land and state.

This decision is nothing but a small step towards breaking many taboos that have cost our country many chances to progress and develop, to achieve self-reliance.

The government must come up with a bundle of comprehensive decisions to open the Jordanian economy to investment, Arab and international.

It is crucial that we link our economy to the regional market and its sectors, and direct Jordan’s entire diplomatic discourse and political narrative in service of Jordan’s economic interests, regardless of all the traditional concerns of Jordanians.

However, our fear is that the bureaucratic device will abort and fail the government’s decisions, due to the complexity of our bureaucracy.

We still see so much hesitation when it comes to extending facilitations and investment perks. There have been countless instances wherein government decisions in these regards have been disrupted and aborted.

There is a missing link between the upper and lower levels of government.

Meanwhile, the benefits of promising government decisions are lost to the vacuums of the executive device.

The State Minister for Investment Affairs has already announced 20 foreign investors have applied for the nationality in accordance to the cabinet’s recent amendments.

It is likely that these investors are already in Jordan and seek to settle things to ensure stability for their investments.

Hopefully, the foreign relations and diplomatic devices will engage in promoting these new policies to attract as many investors as possible.

Investment is crucial for our deliverance, economically speaking.

This article is an edited translation of the Arabic version, published by AlGhad.