Ministerial follow-up committee checks on Al Hassan Industrial Estate, Irbid Development Zone

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The ministerial committee for following up on the performance of the free and development zones on Saturday checked on Al Hassan Industrial Estate (HIE) and Irbid Development Zone (IDZ).

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Local Administration Tawfiq Kreishan during his meeting with a number of investors at the HIE and the IDZ, said that the visit is meant to keep an eye on the situation at the two places and the services provided for stakeholders.

Notes from investors’ will be shared with Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Bisher Al Khasawneh so that the appropriate decisions can be taken by the Cabinet, Kreishan said.

Most noted challenges are associated with bureaucracy and need for stability in laws and regulations, notably those concerning customs, taxes, environment, labour and industry-related issues, Kreishan added, according to the Jordan News Agency, Petra.

Regarding investors’ demands for allowing the recruitment of foreign workers, Kreishan said that this issue is related to the epidemiological and health situations in their home countries.

Minister of Industry, Trade and Supply Maha Al Ali said that the ministry, in cooperation with the Jordan Chamber of Industry, Jordan Commission of Investment and the Industrial Estates Company, is moving towards easing licensing-related procedures for businesses within the HIE and the IDZ.

Government tenders will give preference to local products, Ali said in response to complaints from local investors about unfair competition by imports.

Environment Minister Nabil Masarweh emphasised the reduction of the period required to conduct the environmental impact study by the authorities to be 10 days instead of 15.

Minister of Labour Yousef Shamali stressed that priority is given to Jordanians for administrative posts, pointing out that once granted Jordanian citizenship, investors are treated like Jordanians with regard to exit and entry requirements.

President of the Jordan and Amman Chambers of Industry Fathi Al Jaghbir emphasised the importance of instilling the principle of reciprocity with regard to exports and imports, as Jordan faces difficulties in exporting to a number of countries.

Jordan Industrial Estates Company (JIEC) Director General Omar Juwaid said that the HIE, which was established in 1991, is home for 132 industrial investments at a total volume surpassing JD427 million. Juwaid added that the HIE provides more than 29,000 jobs, in addition to indirectly employing thousands of Jordanians in support and logistical services.

CEO of the Guarantee Company for Development of Development Zones Loay Sarayreh indicated that IDZ is home for many technical and technological investments at a volume of JD44 million, adding that the IDZ provides 1,445 jobs for Jordanians. Sarayreh noted that 15,000 job opportunities will be made available after the completion of the comprehensive expansion plan, according to Petra.


Investments in industrial estates increased by 2% in first half of 2021

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The volume of new investments in industrial estates for the first six months of 2021 increased by 2 per cent to JD73 million compared with JD71.3 million during the same period last year, the Jordan Industrial Estates Company (JIEC) said on Monday.

The JIEC, since the beginning of the year, has signed 82 contracts with 54 new companies and renewed 28 contracts in the industrial and services sectors. These investments are expected to provide 1,466 job opportunities, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

JIEC Director General Omar Juwaid said that 23 of the new investments were established in the Al Hassan Industrial Estate, 20 in the King Abdullah II Industrial Estate, 13 in the Al Muwaqar Industrial Estate, seven in the Salt Industrial Estate, seven in the Madaba Industrial Estate, three in the Mafraq Industrial Estate, two in the Tafileh Industrial Estate and one in the Al Hussein Industrial Estate.

Juwaid added that 853 companies operate in the JIEC’s industrial estates with a total investment volume of JD2.9 billion and provide nearly 57,000 jobs.

The company has recently intensified its promotional campaigns locally and abroad, predominately in e-marketing and teleconferencing, the JIEC director general noted.

The JIEC also routinely communicates with investors to highlight the benefits of investments in various industrial estates. The JIEC provides discounts on land prices and rental allowances for industrial buildings.


Oil-rich UAE to burn waste to make power

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With rubbish piling up in the desert, the United Arab Emirates has found a new way to get rid of its trash — incinerators that will turn it into electricity.

The UAE, one of the world’s top oil NSE -1.70 % exporters, is building the Gulf region’s first waste-to-power plants to ease its chronic trash problem and, at the same time, its reliance on gas-fuelled electricity stations.

Green groups are unconvinced. They say advanced recycling, composting and changing habits amid grossly wasteful rates of consumption would be better for the environment, warning of pollution risks from the greenhouse gas-intensive incinerators too.

But engineer Nouf Wazir, from waste management company Bee’ah, argues they are a way to make use of refuse that cannot be recycled.

“Not everyone knows that waste has value,” said Wazir, a senior engineer on the project. The Sharjah facility is expected to launch this year, burning more than 300,000 tonnes of waste per year to power up to 28,000 homes.

In the neighbouring emirate of Dubai, another plant is being developed at a cost of $1.2 billion, according to Hitachi Zosen Inova, one of the partner companies.

When it is completed in 2024, the Dubai plant will be one of the largest in the world, capable of gobbling up 1.9 million tonnes of waste per year — about 45 percent of the household waste currently produced in the emirate.

As the UAE has mushroomed from a desert outpost to a thriving business hub, waste has multiplied.

So has power use, which has soared 750 percent since 1990 according to the International Energy Agency.

Now with about 10 million people, five times the population of 30 years ago, the wealthy UAE uses more electricity and creates more waste per head than almost any other country.

Authorities put waste production at 1.8 kilos (four pounds) per person per day.

In the UAE, “people consume a lot, and they throw away a lot”, said Riad Bestani, founder of ECOsquare, a Dubai-based consultancy specialising in eco-friendly waste management.

Landfills are strewn across the country. In Dubai alone, six cover an area of about 1.6 million square meters (395 acres), according to the municipality.

In the absence of other solutions, it estimates that landfills will occupy 5.8 million square meters of the emirate by 2041, an area the size of more than 800 football pitches.

Fees for landfills are “pretty much nonexistent, so it’s quite cheap and easy to dump all materials into the desert”, said Emma Barber, director of Dubai-based DGrade, which designs clothes and accessories from recycled plastic bottles.

The UAE has set about diversifying its electricity generation, more than 90 percent of which comes from gas-powered plants.

Last year, the UAE inaugurated the Arab world’s first nuclear plant and, making use of its location in one of the world’s hottest regions, it has significant solar power resources.

In the run-up to the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, which started on Sunday, the UAE said it was targeting carbon neutrality by 2050.

While supporters of the plants say the incinerators carry minimal pollution risks, activists say other approaches would be better for the environment.

According to Janek Vahk of Zero Waste Europe, incinerating rubbish may be “easier” than having space-consuming landfills, but it is far from green.

“The most beneficial for the climate (and) the environment would be recoverage” and composting, Vahk told AFP.

“But this is not really happening because… it’s easier to simply burn it than to separate, sort and recycle.”

The Brussels-based NGO has called for a moratorium on new waste incinerators and the phasing-out of old ones by 2040, warning the electricity they produce is greenhouse-gas intensive — even compared to fossil fuels.

Vahk argues that incineration is “more efficient” in colder Nordic countries when the heat produced is also harnessed, but not in hot deserts.

“If you only produce electricity, the greenhouse gases’ intensity of this energy is very high,” Vahk said, adding that incinerators are also “very expensive to build — and they need to have continuous input to run.”

Rami Shaar, co-founder of Washmen, a Dubai-based start-up that collects customers’ laundry and recycling at the same time, said waste-to-electricity is not “necessarily green energy”.

“It’s a bit of a solution towards not extracting more oil… but it doesn’t solve the full problem,” he said.


The UAE’s Ministry of Finance has successfully closed its offering of a $4 billion US dollar-denominated multi-tranche sovereign bond package.

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The bonds, which is comprised of medium and long-term tranches, captured the demand of international and regional investors. Global books peaked at over $22.5 billion, a statement said.

The announcement was made during a virtual media briefing where Younis Haji Al Khoori, Undersecretary of Ministry of Finance previewed the results of the subscription to the country’s sovereign bonds.

The 10-year tranche bonds were sold at $1 billion at a spread of 70bps over US Treasuries while the 20-year tranche bonds were sold at $1 billion at a spread of 105bps over US Treasuries. The $2 billion 40-year Formosa tranche is debt sold in Taiwan by foreign borrowers and denominated in currencies other than the Taiwanese dollar.

Al Khoori said: “The government bond tranches offered raised $4 billion, while global books peaked at $22.5 billion… The order book momentum increased the deal size to $4 billion from the initial target of $3 billion.”

He added: “The UAE issued these bonds to contribute to the development of the bond market and find investment alternatives for investors.”

The issuance come as the International Monetary Fund forecasts the UAE’s economy to grow by 3.1 percent in 2021, and the Central Bank of the UAE estimates a 4.2 percent growth in 2022.

The Ministry of Finance authorised Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, BofA Securities, Citigroup Global Markets Limited, Emirates NBD Capital, First Abu Dhabi Bank, HSBC, JP Morgan Securities, Mashreqbank and Standard Chartered Bank to be lead managers and bookrunners to arrange subscription sessions with international investors.


Kuwaiti aircraft leasing major secures $75m financing deal

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Kuwait-based ALAFCO Aviation Lease and Finance Company has signed a financing agreement worth $75 million to strengthen its operations as the travel industry looks to rebound from the global coronavirus pandemic.

The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) and ALAFCO signed the four-year syndicated secured financing agreement with $50 million from ICD making it the lead financier in the deal.

The agreement comes after the aviation sector has been one of the hardest hit sectors during the pandemic.

Ayman Sejiny, CEO of ICD, said: “We are very pleased to support ALAFCO in its efforts as a leading player in the aircraft leasing market following Islamic finance principles.”

Adel Ahmad Albanwan, CEO of ALAFCO said: “The agreement demonstrates the confidence ICD has in ALAFCO’s business model, its long-term sustainability and the outlook of the aviation sector.”

ALAFCO is an aircraft leasing company based in Kuwait and is listed on the Kuwait Stock Exchange. It has major institutional shareholders including Kuwait Finance House (KFH), Gulf Investment Corporation (GIC) and Kuwait Airways Corporation (KAC).

Its portfolio consists of 79 Airbus and Boeing aircraft, leased to 23 airlines in 15 countries across Americas, Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East.