Great Expectations: Between Paper and Reality!

By: Mohammad Aburumman

تم نشره في Sun 8 May / May 2016. 11:53 PM
  • Mohammad Aburumman

The Government finalised the Investment Fun bill, and referred it to the Representative House of Parliament to be revised and passed, raising the possibility of one out two scenarios at hand; the first is the extension of the current regular term, and the second being an extraordinary term. Any one of both, could meet the condition of passing the bill before the Jordan Saudi Collaboration Council convenes late this month.

It is obvious from the urgency of the bill’s approval by government, and the scheduling of the Council’s upcoming session, as well as from the nature of the ranking positions incorporated in the Council, that there is a real, serious direction, in both states, to carry out these qualitative strides forward, in regards to the bilateral relation between Jordan and Saudi Arabia, with the inception of an unprecedented institutionalised framework for collaboration.

The Council goes beyond economy, to entail political, administrative, and security aspects. Which is a very similar discourse to the sequence of steps taken by Saudi with Turkey, Egypt, and other countries, to instil deeper its regional alliances. Yet, in regards to the case of Jordan, this was prefaced by a “moment” of ambiguity relations between the two countries, since King Salman bin Abdul Aziz arrived at Riyadh, particularly in terms of foreign policy, which gave the visits of Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman to Jordan exceptional magnitude in the alleviation of this “ambiguity” and the retention of ties down the old, but new, Saudi-Jordanian tracks of strategic alliance.

Therefore, the inception of the Collaboration Council, according to deeply informed sources, also aims to institutionalise Saudi-Jordanian relations and expand the circle of partnership, so that it is no longer exclusive to the summits of the two states, but generalised all throughout the bureaucratic and ministerial bodies; Jordan’s weakness in the discourse of joint relations with Saudi Arabia was that there was a limitation to the relationships between the government, administrative, and bureaucratic devices and components of both States.

The Investment Fund project comprises the turning point in Jordan’s strategic view towards Gulf countries. Before, Jordan was focused on attracting Gulf, Arab, and Western investment. But with time, it turned out that looking for investments in light of the regional circumstance, the limitations of the Jordanian marketplace and the subsequent feasibilities of investing in it, is pointless. This directed the transformation to bind Jordan’s regional role with its economy, turning to Gulf sovereignty funds, with large capital excess, and ties to political decisions parallel to economic benefits.

Typically, there are Arab requests from Gulf brethren for direct financial support, to close the deficit gap in the public budget, meet necessary current liabilities, and face the growing burden of Syrian refuge in Jordan. But Jordanian demands go beyond instantaneous to investment, creating work opportunities, and facing up to the dilemmas of unemployment and poverty; this is the precursor to the inception of the new Investment Fund.

Nevertheless, that is all theoretical, and granted; Jordan has so far succeeded —theoretically speaking. The establishment of the Collaboration Council and the new bill mark the peak of a strategic transformation in the Jordanian approach. But in the end of the day, what we are looking to see is not a bundle of plans, meetings, and bills, but the real yield and economic fruit of this; albeit in terms of expected urgent financial aid, or Gulf investment funds, Saudi in particular.

There is a very high ceiling of economic and popular expectation. But Saudi investments will not come here to be tossed about and depart, as one would say; it is also a phase seated in economic accounts, and there have been continuous efforts, since the Saudi Deputy Crown Prince first visited, which produced Saudi plans to invest in the development of the city of Aqaba, and initiate the purchase of Jordanian uranium. Those are important projects, preliminarily speaking, but they require longer durations to conclude. There are also domestic, Jordanian ideas in regards to infrastructural development, particularly transportation.

On paper, things seems to be going the right direction. Paper also said the same thing about the recommendations of the latest London Donors conference. What citizens hope for, however, is that the current or next government, would translate the ink on that paper, and the mighty expectations drawn out, into reality; else, a great, massive disappointment lures about the bend!