Published: 2017-12-18 11:00
Last Updated: 2017-12-18 11:40
Nasser Al-Shuraideh, the Chief Commissioner of the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA), said that smuggled goods from Aqaba to other cities has decreased by half.
During the ASEZA budget discussion with the Parliamentary Finance Committee on Sunday, Al-Shuraideh explained that the smuggling centers on 18 items, including cigarettes, alcohol, spices and nuts. He also pointed out that customs and tax evasion cases are taken to the court of law and sent to the public prosecution office.
Al-Shuraideh attributed the decline in smuggling rates to the tax procedures recently implemented by the government and the follow-ups by the authority.
According to the Commissioner for Customs, Revenues, Administration and Finance, Dr. Mahmoud Khlaifat, the total value of smuggled goods that was recorded from 2011-2015 was estimated at 224 million JOD, and 36 million JOD in 2017.
Dr. Khlaifat also mentioned the tax evasion case they filed last Thursday, which was estimated at a value of 2 million JOD and will be added to earlier cases recorded this year.
Al-Shuraideh revealed plans to attract investments worth 10 billion dollars by the year 2025. He said the Authority's vision focuses on investments, tourism and trading, which will put Aqaba on the map as an investment city and touristic destination.
ASEZA aims to increase the number of annual tourists to 1 million by 2020, and 1.5 million annual visitors by 2025, in addition to extending the average stay from two and half nights to 4. The current number of annual visitors in Aqaba is 600,000 visitors. The Authority also aims to create 10,000 jobs by 2020, and 50,000 by 2025.
Earlier this week, it has been revealed the the government will be giving incentives to foreigners who buy apartments in Aqaba worth 100,000 JOD or more as a way to attract investments and tourists. The incentives include car and furniture tax exemptions, as well as a 5-year renewable residency.