Jordan rejigs laws to boost tech sector

Jordan is carrying out a full scale review of all company and business related laws as it bids to become a New Economy powerhouse.

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By  David Ingham Published  February 13, 2001

Jordan’s legal system is in line for a comprehensive shakeup as the country bids to become a New Economy powerhouse. According to Karim Kawar, chairman of Intaj, Jordan’s information technology association, three aspects of the law are to be worked on.

The first task is to implement laws that actually exist already, particularly the law protecting intellectual property. “We asked for its enforcement and it is being enforced,” says Kawar. “That protects the rights of local companies that are developing software, plus it legitimises the environment in which we work. You cannot attract investors into a market that does not respect intellectual property.”

The second area that needs to be worked on is the amendment of existing legislation that holds back businesses. An example is a law that says that a company must be profitable for three consecutive years before it can go public.

“That limits companies being able to access the capital market,” says Kawar. “So we worked with the government to change the regulations and minimise those restrictions, and give the investor more benefit.”

The third job that needs to done is the drafting of brand new laws, to cover areas like electronic commerce and e-signatures. Kawar says that the objective is not to, “reinvent the wheel” but to use precedents for guidance.

UNCITRAL, an arm of the United Nations, has issued suggestions to member states on how to draft ‘e-legislation.’ Kawar speaks of taking the UNCITRAL framework and adapting it to suit Jordan’s own market conditions.

King Abdullah II has said that he is prepared to do whatever is required to both stimulate the indigenous technology industry and attract more foreign investment. Jordan aims to create 30,000 jobs in the technology sector between 2000 and 2004.

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