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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Recently, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez had led off a large scale campaign to nationalize most critical industries and companies in Venezuela, this includes taking over country's power firms, seizing private companies and gaining special powers from parliament to go ahead with his left-wing project.

Also recently, our government had announced the privatization transaction regarding electric sector in Jordan, the transaction comprises the sale of 60% of the government’s total shares in Central Electric Generating Company (CEGCO) responsible of electricity generation, 100% of its shares in Electric Distribution Company (EDCO), and a total of 55.4% of the government’s shares in the Irbid District Electricity Company (IDECO). National Electric Power Company (NEPCO), for electricity transmission, will remain fully owned by the government.

Jordan Telecom AdUntil now, I find it difficult to know the real reason of this privatization. Government said that privatization program was launched with the aim of "rebalancing the role of the public sector in the economy"; evidently Jordanian public sector did not obtain such promised role in Jordan economy, selling Jordan Telecom to France Telecom or Jordan Cement to Lafarge do prove it, what have Jordanians and Jordan brought in? I have no idea, I only think every time I make a call from home that my money is sent directly to France. Yes! It's French economy that takes benefit not ours!

Others, happy of privatization, may tell me: "services offered to citizen are now better" or "there's more competition". First of all this is relative, it depends on certain privatized companies and not all them, take for example Jordan Telecom, it has improved some services, but on the other side it has literally monopolized the entire telecom sector, it entered ADSL market with no scruples; for instance, it demands from every subscriber a monthly payment that multiplies costs by two. These companies worry only about their business. What about costs? Well, you can call a Mobilecom subscriber for a reduced price only because both companies are of France Telecom!!

Things seem different regarding Royal Jordanian; here a partial privatization appears acceptable and proper, it makes the company more competitive in the international market, but is this the same as to privatize Queen Alia Airport?

If we not stop with this "privatization mania" we will perhaps find ourselves with a hundred of low-salary jobs in call centers, more smiles on saleswomen faces, but with an economy totally dependent on foreign companies and multinational giants ready to eat you alive if you are late in paying the bill by one day.

Before they privatize Phosphates Co, Potassium Co, Water and Electricity, there is still time to learn from Chavez.

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The issue is that the decision makers are nothing but big capitalist sharks who'll benefit from every privatization deal in every phase of it, with every deal a new shark pops, and while Jordanians sleep and settle with nice-looking sweat-talk girls instead of boring indifferent guys at the reception desks, while they're being ripped off, nothing will change .

Unfortunately you're right OmAr! Our government and decision makers are too liberal to take care of the poors, even if they're starving to death. The problem is, as you said, that we are indifferent to what's happening... I hope things will change.

Privatization is a good thing for our country! It must go ahead. Jordan needs to be part of the global economy for our future success and being small minded and local is not what Allah wants - the 12th Immam said so from the well in Iran.

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