Aqaba SEZ registers more than 30 firms
By the eve of declaring Aqaba a Special Economic Zone, capping nearly a year of diligent work, more than 30 firms have officially registered as future operators in the zone. ASEZ Commissioner for Investment and Economic Development Imad Fakhouri said the five-member board of commissioners opened the door to official registration on Tuesday, February 13.
“By mid-day, we had received 30 applications, half of them from existing firms that were already in the zone and the remainder are new comers into the area,” Fakhouri told the Jordan Times. He said tens of potential investors have so far expressed interest in setting up shop in the 380 sq. km customs-free zone, to be launched on Thursday at midnight. It will be a soft launch pending the accumulation of a clear track record of investors and high-calibre performance over the next few months.
According to Fakhouri, the ASEZ board and the ports authority were hoping to squeeze the duration of cargo handling at the port to “a few hours” as the new project picks up momentum. By mid-February a new set of rules and bylaws will enter into force at the ASEZ to govern the flow of goods to and from the country's sole maritime outlet.
The ASEZ holds the promise of a much reduced sales tax and a flat 5 percent income tax to would be investors in the zone. The ASEZ inauguration had been initially scheduled for Jan. 31, but work on the mega project was postponed for two weeks pending finalization of the legal and legislative groundwork.
In the meantime, the existing 70 firms and merchants had been given a grace period to adapt to new regulations and clear their stash of already taxed goods.
By Friday morning, according to Fakhouri, all registered importers will be eligible to unload their goods on the port duty free. — ( Jordan Times )
By Saad G. Hattar
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)