Jordan considers privatization of mill and silos
Jordan’s Prime Ministry will appoint a board of directors and a general director to run the state-owned mill, wheat silos and warehouses, which were converted into a public shareholding company with a capital of JD40 million in late 2000, said a senior official at the Ministry of Trade and Industry on Sunday, March 4.
“The step aims to study the best ways to run the company... on an efficient, commercial and profitable basis,” said the official, adding that the company's capital is subject to increase in the future. Once the board is formed, according to the official, who preferred not to be named, the Executive Privatization Unit which functions under the supervision of the Prime Ministry, will appoint legal, technical and fiscal consultants to study the appropriate way of privatization.
The government, then, will decide whether it will privatise or retain the enterprise, he added. “The government may keep the company [as a] public shareholding or it may sell some shares,” he said. The government may also lease some or all of the company [and] shift the management of the company to the private sector, he added. “Actually, there are many options, and each option may include more than one phase,” he said. Whether the company is privatised or not, the official said, the government will always ensure a strategic stockpile of wheat.
The state still subsidizes wheat, oats and barely, which will “continue in line with the current difficult economic situation,” said the official, adding that the privatization will not affect the subsidies. In line with international obligations — primarily Jordan's entry to the World Trade Organization — subsidies of all kinds will be eliminated, economists believe. In Jordan, the state mill is located at Jweideh in Amman, while the silos and the warehouses are in the southern port city of Aqaba, Irbid in the north and Zarqa in the east. The overall storage capacity of all wheat silos and warehouses is 470,000 tons. — ( Jordan Times )
By Khalid Dalal
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)