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32 MEED 12 August 1977


Japan seeks stake in Jordan’s first oil find

The Japanese company, Fuyo Petroleum Development Corporation, says it is seeking Japanese government approval to buy a 35 per cent holding in Jordan’s first oil field, near the Dead Sea.

Fuyo intends to join Compagnie Francaise des Petroles (CFP) of France and the US Filon Exploration Company to develop the field under a 30-year concession negotiated in 1975. The field’s potential output is put at 30,000 to 50,000 barrels a day and trial drillings over the 8,400-square-kilometre area will start towards the end of the year.

Measures recommended to halt emigration

New measures have been recommended to try to stop the increasing emigration of workers. A special committee, comprising representatives of the National Planning Council and the Ministry of Labour, has issued a report whose recommendations include linking wages to price increases, material and moral incentives, raising the standard of conditions for female workers, increasing vocational training opportunities and concluding agreements with countries which take Jordanian labour for regulating - "not curtailing" - emigration.

Another report by the special committee says that restrictions on the employment of non-Arab foreign workers may also be introduced soon to protect job prospects for Jordanians and workers from adjoining Arab countries. In future, foreign workers will not be permitted to change jobs without permission from the Ministry of Labour and the Department of Public Security. Agricultural workers are excluded, however, because of the high demand for these workers.

First solar desalination plant starts

An experimental solar-powered desalination plant has started production at Aqaba (MEED 22:7:77). The Royal Scientific Society (RSS) will operate the plant for three years. It will then have the option of manufacturing similar plants, for sale outside Jordan.

The plant, based on a design by the West German Dornier System and operated by the RSS on a contractual arrangement with Dornier and through the West German Agency for Technical Co-operation, is the first to be set up in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia’s Coast Guard is interested in the Dornier system and RSS
sees the plant as particularly suitable for use by coastal military units throughout the region.

The RSS has paid the $240,000 coast of the plant and associated buildings, while the West German government has provided approximately $400,000 for the desalination equipment and cost of providing engineers and scientists for the initial research work.

Mohammad Balawai, RSS’s director of solar energy research, says that solar energy technology developed in Jordan will be made available to other Middle Eastern countries.


Harza Engineering of Chicago, US, has won a $6.7 million contract to design the Jordan valley irrigation scheme’s second and stages, which will irrigate 57,000 hectares of fruit and vegetable farmland.

A new 25-plastre coin to mark King Hussain’s silver jubilce went into circulation on 6 August.

An agreement with Egypt is expected to boost the value of annual bilateral trade from JD 6:54 million ($ 20 million), to JD 9.8 million ($ 30 million)

School meals, costing JD 1.4 million ($ 4.2 million), will be provided for 35,000 pupils at 293 schools for three years, following an agreement signed on 4 August with the World Food Programme, a UN Food & Agriculture Organisation agency.

A new Housing Bank branch was opened in Irbid by Crown Prince Hasan on 3 August. The bank has opened 10 other branches in the past three years.

The director-general of the Telecommunications Corporation, Mohammad
Shahed Ismail, attended an Arab Space Communications Institute meetings in Riyadh on 3 August. The meeting was to consider international bids for an Arab satellite project to beam educational programmes to remote areas of the Arab world.

A ban on the Kuwait daily Al-Siyassah has been lifted.

The Department of Labour issued 4,766 work permits for foreigners in the first six months of the year.

Jordanian and Syrian economist societies have begun preparations in Damascus for a joint seminar planned for December. The seminar will review integration experiments in trade and tourism.

Adequate health facilities for Muslim pilgrims passing through Jordan en route to Saudi Arabia this year are being considered by the Ministry of Health. Fears have been expressed of possible dangers from crops irrigated by sewage water.

Regular passenger ship services between Aqaba and Suez have been recommended by a joint Jordanian-Egyptian tourist committee. The committee, which met in Amman, says it will invite Arab countries to take part in tourism projects and in providing hotel management scholarships.

Minister of Finance Mohammad al-Dabbas headed a team of industrial specialists who were in Baghdad last week for talks on the transit trade to
Iraq via Aqaba.

Alia, the Royal Jordanian Airline has appointed Akel Biltaji as vice-president of North America, Munib Toukan as director of public relations, David H Burness as vice-president of engineering, and Hanna Petro as sales director for the Far East and Australia.

A standartised code for overland transport is being considered by a joint Jordanian-Syrian committee meeting in Amman.

King Hussain had talks with US Secretary of State Cyrus Vance last
week (see REGIONAL DEVELOPMENTS). An official spokesman said Jordan supports Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) attendance at Geneva, and sees recognition of the Palestinian people and Israeli withdrawal from occupied Arab lands as essential to lasting peace. King Hussain later sent messages to President Sadat of Egypt and President
Asad of Syria on the results of the talks.


Government moves to boost economy

The government has responded to calls from businessmen and others to take steps to boost the economy. Hundreads of Kuwaitis are faced with bankruptey because of speculative land and stock deals, Reuters reports. The economic downturn has been officially attributed to slow growth throughout the Gulf.

Among the measures announced onn 2 August were expanding central bank operations, casing credit, a temporary ban on setting up new companies and on raising the capital of existing ones, an end to auctioning goods left for too long at ports, suspending the sale of government property, reducing state competition with private house builders, and giving priority in contracts to local companies and products.

Government plans and budget allocations are not expected to be affected by the moves, the government said. The intention appears to be to improve private sector liquidity.

It was also announced last week that the governemnt has completed its survey of the economy, started in October 1976.
The survey was in response to an Arab League call for member states to present plans for the next five years, so that the progress

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