The Jordan Industrial Estates Corporation (JIEC) will be the first investor in the Aqaba Special Economic Zone (SEZ), set to open on Jan. 1, 2001, a JIEC official said on Thursday, August 7.
The multi-million project, will be built on a 2,750 dunum-plot east of Aqaba airport.
Last month an American engineering company embarked on the initial phase of the project that was erected on 500 dunums.
“Work on the project started when the corporation's board of directors approved the project's feasibility study,” Amer Majali, JIEC general manager, told the Jordan Times.
The study was conducted in cooperation with the JIEC and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which will also fund the design and construction.
“Both the corporation and the private sector will be entrusted with implementing the first phase of the project, a step that goes in line with the government's plan to involve the private sector in propelling the national economy,” said Majali,
“The private sector will be responsible for marketing and managing the project under a concession agreement with the corporation,” he added.
The estate will be managed by the private sector under JIEC's direct supervision.
The industrial estate will include small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) which will manufacture textiles, clothing and luggage.
“Only SMEs will operate in the Aqaba Industrial Estate just as the Kingdom's other industrial cities,” Majali said.
Jordan has three industrial estates; Amman, Al Hassan and Karak.
“Several European and American firms have shown interest in setting up ventures on the estate,” Majali added, noting that similar enthusiasm was not shown by Arab industrialists.
“The Aqaba industrial estate will be environment friendly; citizens should not worry about their environment getting polluted as sub-sewage stations will be directly connected to the central station, and the sea port will not be touched,” Majali said.
With the help of the Ministry of Trade and Industry the corporation seeks to turn the Aqaba Industrial Estate into a Qualifying Industrial Zone (QIZ).
JIEC's project aims to act as a catalyst to lure other investors into Aqaba.
Once it proves successful the project will be implemented in other industrial estates in other governorates.
The Aqaba SEZ, which will be run by an independent committee, including the JIEC, tries to attract foreign investment and create jobs. — ( Jordan Times )
By Dana Abu Sham
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )