ICT hub in danger? Major gaming company to leave Jordan
A major international digital game company is in the process of closing its offices in Jordan to move abroad due to the “unfavourable environment governing the ICT sector”, according to the Jordan Gaming Task Force.
“The company is planning to move to Turkey or Dubai,” Nour Khrais, chairman of the task force, told The Jordan Times over the phone Monday.
In 2012, around 30 ICT firms, including gaming and content development companies, closed their offices and left the Kingdom.
“The government is taking measures that are destroying the environment of the gaming and content development industry,” Khrais charged.
“International companies used to view Jordan as an ICT hub, but nowadays, we are seeing companies leaving the Kingdom and others that have decided against opening offices here,” he added.
The government’s intention to increase IT companies’ income tax from 14 per cent to 25 per cent, as well as its recent decision to increase taxes on smartphones and mobile subscriptions, which will eventually lead to an increase in prices of mobile Internet, are all factors that are harming the digital gaming and content development industry, warned Khrais.
“Companies in the industry are facing challenges that are impossible to overcome, and I expect more companies to leave the Jordanian market if the income tax is increased,” he noted.
In July, the government increased the special tax on mobile phones from 8 per cent to 16 per cent, and the tax on mobile subscriptions from 12 per cent to 24 per cent.
“It is truly a loss to the national economy and to the reputation of the country, which we seek to promote as an ICT hub. Legislation governing the sector needs to be modern and encourage businesses,” Khrais said.
Some of the gaming and content development companies have also resorted to laying off employees, he noted.
“I hope the situation does not worsen to the extent that we see Jordanian companies unable to do business in their own country. If this continues, how will it be possible to attract foreign companies to operate here?”