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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Perth, Amman
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‘Marsa Zayed project to go ahead as planned’
AMMAN –– Abu Dhabi-based developers of the $10 billion Marsa Zayed project in Aqaba on Monday expressed anger over “baseless” accusations by some media outlets but pledged to go ahead with its implementation as planned.
Al Maabar International Investments, one of the largest real estate and investment firms in the UAE, held a press conference in Amman in order to provide the media with “all facts and to remove intentional and non-intentional fallacies surrounding the project”.
Several owners of news websites attended the press conference, as they were the targeted audience of Al Maabar’s message.
Emad Keilani, the company’s CEO in Jordan, said the project, which is the largest in the Arab world, will create around 17,000 jobs and its direct and indirect revenues to the state budget would reach JD200 million per year when it is completed.
According to Keilani, Marsa Zayed will also be capable of receiving cruise ships carrying over 250,000 tourists a year.
“While such projects carried out by Al Maabar in other countries are admired and valued by Arab and foreign officials, it is unfortunate that the Marsa Zayed project continues to be discredited through smear campaigns against its objectives to serve Jordan’s economy,” he said at the conference.
As some media outlets circulated “dangerous” accusations against the project by citing baseless information, Keilani added, it is time to settle the controversy regarding the agreement between the government and the company so the venture can be implemented smoothly.
The CEO referred to a recent programme about Marsa Zayed aired on a private satellite channel where untrue information was discussed.
He countered the programme’s claim that the agreement was signed when there was no Lower House, pointing out that it was signed on March 26, 2008 during the term of the 15th Parliament.
Keilani noted that the programme presenter described the $500 million (around JD350 million) price of the 3,200 dunums of land as a joke, claiming it was JD1,000 per dunum.
By doing simple calculations, he said, the presenter could have found that the price per dunum was $156,000 (around JD110,000) in addition to 3 per cent of the overall returns of the project.
Keilani also talked about other accusations, such as the company was exempted from fees and taxes, in addition to claims that the firm can sell the project to any party in the future.
Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA) Chief Commissioner Kamel Mahadin described some of the accusations against the UAE-based company as planned, threatening to sue those who try to hurt the reputation of the firm and government agencies.
He called on journalists, particularly those working for the online media, to verify the truth before publishing any information.
Minister of Industry and Trade Hatem Halawani, who also attended the press conference, noted that attracting and supporting investments is the way to stimulate the economy and create jobs for Jordanians.
More than a country sandwiched between Israel and Iraq.