The sale of government shares in four companies has contributed to almost doubling revenues from the Jordan Investment Corporation (JIC) during the first eight months of 2000, compared to the same period of 1999, according to the finance ministry.
The ministry's monthly statistical bulletin announced that the budget received more than 18 million Jordanian dinars (JD) in revenues from the JIC, Jordan's investment arm, in January-August of this year, against JD9.9 million in the same months of last year.
“The boost in revenues is due to the corporations capital profits; sale of shares and returns on its equities,” said Mohammad Bataineh, JIC director general. “This year, the government has sold its shares in four companies, including the Coral Beach Hotel and the Amman Marriott Hotel,” he added.
The state's hands-off policy is part of the privatization scheme adopted by the kingdom as part of the IMF-backed economic restructuring program. According to Bataineh, the sale process started in 1993, but the bulk of sales were concentrated in 1997-1998. “Out of 90 companies where the government was a stake-holder, it now has shares in only 35,” he told the Jordan Times in an interview.
However, the government's overall profits dropped to JD60.5 million during the first eight months of this year, from JD104 million of the same months a year earlier. Revenues from the newly privatized Jordan Telecom plunged to JD28.4 million compared with JD76 million in the set period.
Early this year, the government sold 40 percent of its equities to a strategic partner, France Telecom, which partly contributed to the drop. Similarly, revenues from the Port Authority dropped to JD6.5 million against JD11 million during the set months.
According to Mohammad Abu Hammour, the finance ministry secretary general, part of the port’s profits is being invested in new projects and purchase of machinery and equipment. — ( Jordan Times )
By Rana Awwad
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)