Deputising for His Majesty King Abdullah, Prime Minister Marouf Bakhit inaugurated on Sunday an industrial estate in Muwaqqar, which is the sixth in the Kingdom. According to Amer Majali, director general of the Jordan Industrial Estates Corporation (JIEC), the first phase of the 1,440-dunum Muwaqqar industrial estate has attracted so far nine investment projects implemented by local, regional and international investors in the fields of food, metal, engineering and wood industries. The investments, worth of JD162 million, are expected to provide employment to over 1,000 Jordanians, Majali said, indicating that the nine projects occupy about 33 per cent of the first phase’s total area. Noting that frequent global economic crises and regional developments have made potential investors reluctant to carry out more projects, he added that JIEC continued to improve its investment environment and facilitate its procedures to convince investors who look for appropriate places for their businesses that indusrtrial estates in Jordan are safe and cost-effective for investments. Abdul Karim Rajhi, chairman of Tybah Metal Industries, a Saudi-Jordanian steel factory, said the company will launch the second phase of the project soon, and will supply the local market as well as the market of northern Saudi Arabia. stressing the importance of stability and security in Jordan in attracting investors, Rajhi, however, noted that his company was planning to establish a $1 billion factory to extract iron metal in Aqaba but after allocating around one million square metres for the project, he was “shocked” with some obstacles that hindered the project. According to JIEC, nine factories are currently operating in Muwaqqar industrial estate. Among them is a metal factory owned by Jordanian businesspeople with a total investment of JD120 million. In his speech at the launch ceremony, Jordan Chamber of Industry President Hatem Halawani, called on authorities to give more attention to the industrial sector, which according to him employs over 200,000 people and attracted around 60 per cent of the overall investments that flowed to Jordan in 2010. The 2,500-dunum-industrial estate in Muwaqqar is equipped with facilities to meet investors needs such as road networks, electricity, telecommunication and water and sewage networks in addition to a waste water treatment plant, according to JIEC. The estate is around 60 kilometres south of Amman, 120 kilometres to Saudi northern borders, 310 kilomteres to Iraqi borders and 340 kilometres to the port city of Aqaba. Established in 1980, JIEC has industrial six estates across the Kingdom where 520 firms are operating with investments of over JD1.5 billion that offer employment to around 33,000 people.