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    11-Mar-2020

MPs endorse PDTRA Law as public expresses fears over Israelis owning Jordanian lands

 

The Jordan Times

 

AMMAN — Jordan has not and will never sell its lands or institutions, and will never give up its identity, Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said on Tuesday.
 
The minister's remarks came during a Lower House session during which MPs endorsed amendments to the Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority (PDTRA) Law, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.
 
The amendments had sparked fears among MPs and the public that Israelis would be allowed to own lands in Petra under the draft PDTRA Law.
 
During the session, Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi stressed that the amendments are part of plans to stimulate investment.
 
The minister noted that there are several laws allowing investments in all regions of the Kingdom, which maintain Jordanian identity. He stressed that the legislation seeks to stimulate investments as a vital means of development.
 
The draft law allows legal persons, according to their registration documents in the Kingdom, to own immovable assets in Petra outside the borders of the archaeological reserve or other archaeological sites in the region with a comprehensive blueprint and approval from the Cabinet and the Ministry of Interior. 
 
The bill stipulates that legal non-Jordanians must partner with a Jordanian national to own land or immoveable assets, with the Jordanian national owning at least 51 per cent, taking into consideration the principle of reciprocity for all non-Jordanian partners.
 
If the partner holds more than one nationality, the principle of reciprocity is applied to both nationalities, under penalty of nullity. The principle does not apply to non-Jordanians who are nationals of any Arab country. 
 
Amendments to the law stiffen the penalty of violating its items from imprisonment for one week to imprisonment for six months, and increases minimum fines from JD100 to JD1,000 and maximum fines from JD1,000 to JD10,000. It also obliges violators to incur any damages.
 
The law also allows establishing light industries within PDTRA, where the terms and conditions of practicing such industries will be mentioned in a special by-law.
 
MP Saud Abu Mahfouth disagreed with the House’s decision on item 2 of the law concerning light industries, calling for restricting such industries to the tourism sector only, according to Petra.
 
The lawmaker also rejected item 5, which allows selling and renting lands to legal persons, attributing his rejection to possible “territorial ambition and designs” in the city of Petra.
 
 

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