Phosphate exports dropped by 21 percent in 2000 compared to the year before, further burdening an already strained budget, official figures revealed.
Preliminary data obtained from the Department of Statistics (DoS) showed that phosphate exports declined to JD91 million by end of 2000 against JD115 million in 1999, depriving the treasury of JD19 million in mining revenues.
According to Finance Ministry Secretary General Mohammad Abu Hammour, the Jordan Phosphate Mines Company (JPMC) defaulted on paying its dues to the state coffers in 2000, but the sum, along with 2001 fees, is to be paid during the course of this year.
This year, the government agreed to charge $5 for each tone of exported phosphate, against $7 it used to collect until the end of 2000.
Last year, the JPMC, which enjoys an indefinite mining monopoly, reported JD80 million in losses, citing competition, high production costs and a drop in phosphate prices as chief reasons for its gloomy performance.
India was the largest market for the mineral, buying JD55 million worth of the phosphate, followed by Indonesia and Holland.
According to the DoS, Israeli imports stood at JD888,000 last year.
Meanwhile, potash, the second component of the mining industry, saw a nine percent growth in exports during the 2000 when weighed against the year before, the DoS figures showed.
Exports jumped to JD138 million last year from around JD126 million in 1999.
The Arab Potash Company (APC) estimates after-tax net profits of JD35.6 million during 2000, against JD31 million a year ago.
During 2000, the firm said it was able to increase its production capacity by 7.5 percent and recorded a 12.5 per cent rise in sales compared to the 1999 figures.
By Rana Awwad
( Jordan Times )
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )