(MENAFN - Jordan Times) His Majesty King Abdullah on Sunday urged Arab and foreign investors to trust the "national integrity system", which protects their interests, in reference to an anti-corruption campaign that has gathered momentum recently.
"I assure you that myself and most Jordanians are fully aware of your contributions to the Kingdom's development," the King said during a follow-up meeting with representatives of Arab and foreign investments in Jordan, who suggested a several-point plan to ease their work in the Kingdom and attract further foreign projects.
The Monarch urged teamwork spirit to face Jordan's economic challenges in order to boost confidence in the private sector and its role in the reform and development process, according to a Royal Court statement.
The meeting came days after a major Gulf investment company complained to the government that it regretted that the media are associating the name of the company with corruption.
His Majesty has also warned in a meeting with top officials from agencies concerned with investment that the anti-corruption efforts should not be manipulated and turned into campaigns of smear, defamation and character assassination, noting that Gulf investors have already shunned Jordan fearing such behaviours.
Prime Minister Awn Khasawneh has recently assured the said investor, the UAE-based Al Maabar, that the government would be more transparent in reporting foreign investments to the public, expressing regret over media attacks on some Arab and foreign investors after Al Maabar's chairman, Yousef Al Nowais, remarked that such attacks harm the reputation and the image of the firm.
Al Maabar International Investments is implementing the 10 billion Marsa Zayed project in Aqaba and is also carrying out investment projects worth 300 million in the field of hospitality.
During the meeting yesterday, the premier told investors that his government will work on regulating web-based media outlets.
The Monarch reiterated that comprehensive economic programmes are in line with the political reform efforts in order to deal with poverty and unemployment, guarantee equality and social justice in all governorates and empower the middle class.
Underlining the importance of revitalising the role of Aqaba as an investment hub, the King noted that the government will work to facilitate investment procedures and strengthen partnership between the public and private sectors.
He also highlighted the need to finalise investment-related laws to further facilitate investments, which reportedly dropped in value by around 25 per cent last year.
King Abdullah urged investors to implement social responsibility programmes to serve the communities they work in and meet their development needs.
In a meeting with ministers and directors of investment-related institutions earlier this month, the Monarch instructed the government to improve the level of services and facilities provided to investors, particularly investors from Gulf Cooperation Council states, by removing red tape that is hindering the business environment.
He said part of the problems and challenges facing the sector are related to the lengthy procedures taken between institutions, which impede the work of investors and drive them away, highlighting the need to change this image.
During the meeting yesterday, Al Maabar's Chief Executive Officer Emad Keilani outlined several issues and challenges facing investors in the Kingdom, the statement said.
The investors called for establishing an investment services unit, to be affiliated with the Prime Ministry, and equip it with the necessary authorities to facilitate and encourage direct foreign investments in a transparent manner.
The investors stressed the importance of establishing a governmental contact group to respond to issues raised by media outlets regarding foreign investments in the Kingdom.
They also suggested the establishment of a society for foreign investors and businessmen in the Kingdom to communicate with the government in solving the problems they face.
The investors stressed the importance of raising the awareness of the judicial bodies on trade issues and privatisation agreements in general.
They noted that the sudden changes in laws, regulations and agreements negatively affects investments in the country.
Regarding the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority, the investors highlighted the importance of independence in the work of the authority, citing "increased interference by several ministries in the authority's job and Al Maabar's decisions".
Khasawneh said the government will hold a meeting next week with Arab and foreign investors to discuss the issues raised by them in detail and deal with all the problems facing their projects to enhance the Kingdom's investment environment.
The premier added that he will direct the ministers to respond to all investors' notes and deal with the problems facing them. He also backed the suggestion to establish an institution affiliated with the Prime Ministry to deal with investments.
He welcomed the investors' plan to establish a society that deals with the affairs of foreign investments in Jordan.
He added that the Cabinet will announce in its coming sessions strategic procedures to stimulate investment in the Aqaba Special Economic Zone.