Some surprised after JIC posts 2014 customs, tax exemptions

(Photo: Pixabay)
IRBID — A Facebook post by the Jordan Investment Commission (JIC) on Saturday outlining customs and sales tax exemptions that have been in place since 2014 took some by surprise.   اضافة اعلان

According to a post published by the JIC on Facebook there is an exemption from customs and sales tax on a group of economic activities if imported or purchased locally.

The exemptions are on the following economic activities; recreational entertainment and tourism within certain cities, hospitals and specialized medical centers, agriculture and livestock, artistic and media production, air and maritime transport, railways, transportation, distribution and extraction of water, gas, and oil derivatives using pipelines, scientific research centers, and laboratories, the industrial sector, and conference centers, exhibitions, call centers, hotel, and tourism facilities.

Jordan News contacted Bilal Abu Zaid, the official spokesman for the JIC, to ask about the reason for the post. "This infographic that was published today by the JIC is already in the text of Investment Law No. 30 of 2014, but what we do is deduce these matters and publish them in this simplified way to facilitate the delivery of information to citizens in general and for investors in particular," he said.

When asked to expand on the purpose of sharing this infographic, Abu Zaid said that the JIC wanted both local and non-local investors to know they qualify for the exemptions.

Abu Zaid emphasized at the end of the conversation that "Investment is the most important factor in introducing new technologies and techniques to countries, and it is also a catalyst for the public sector in terms of reducing the burden on it and alleviating unemployment by exploiting the capabilities of citizens and benefiting from their experiences."

Nael Al-Husami, a member of the Amman Chamber of Industry, was also interviewed to discuss his perspective.

"There has been talk previously about the government stopping exemptions for investors, so this infographic that was released today is of great importance. There was some talk that the Council of Ministers stopped granting this type of exemption, but in fact, this happened to activities not covered by the law, which did not come in this text. Most of the activities capable of employing citizens are still exempt from sales tax and customs duties as they are, and what has been said and circulated on social media platforms is inaccurate," he said.

Husami discussed the role of the law and the JIC's mission: "A large part of the JIC's job is to promote the laws that relate to it."

The circulation of the infographic also raised the question about its significance to the Amman Chamber of Industry. "The impact of this law is significant. As countries compete in the field of investment … every country offers what it can to attract investors to it, and every country does so according to its capabilities," said Husami.

Husami reiterated the importance of such exemptions to encourage economic activities to increase development and allow the Kingdom to compete economically at an international level. 

Jordan News also interviewed an investor in the agricultural field who preferred to remain anonymous. "We did not know about this law before, but we did today, and indeed we contacted the JIC directly to inquire about this matter and start implementing it. But, unfortunately, we were surprised that this exemption applies to tools, devices, and equipment, not production inputs or sales operations, or even exports that are subject to income tax,” he said.

The economic impact of COVID-19 has made it increasingly difficult for business owners in terms of the global increase in prices of services and the delay in shipping times. The investor said: "We are suffering from a lot of economic pressures because most of our inputs are imported, and international shipping has become very expensive."

The exemption is not all-encompassing of the investment factors and only applies to some regions of function, which can alter the profit percentage.

Abu Zaid was asked about the limitations of the exemptions and the impact it might have, saying that it is important to remember that the law is not new and has been in place since 2014. “Within the investment law, and what we do in the media unit is to remind investors of these advantages,” he said.

“As for what is covered by this exemption, it includes only fixed assets for the investment project, which are purchased for long-term use, such as land, buildings, and equipment, except for cement and iron,” Abu Zaid said. “It, therefore, does not include anything portable such as a car, for example, which can be to be used outside the purposes of the project."

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