Ordinarily, this probably one of those items of news that would fly swiftly under the radar, and I mention this only to underline its importance to economic development. According to Ammon, the Ministry of Industry and Trade seems to be making moves towards changing its policies to accommodate home (or what they call ‘garage’) businesses in the Kingdom. During a conference, minister Hadeedi said the shift will allow the average Jordanian to start and register a business for a cost that will not exceed 1JD.
Is it possible that the government is finally realizing that a natural resource barren, poverty-stricken, unemployment-riddled, third world nation like Jordan can only survive on pure human ingenuity as it always has? Is it possible that there is a sudden realization in some smokey back room ministry, between lit cigarettes, drained coffee cups and cheap brown suits – that this is shift the government should have made decades ago?
It’s probably too early to tell. But whatever the motive, a policy structure that enables the growth of home businesses in Jordan will help fuel its national economy. I am of course thinking beyond the industrious landscape of light and heavy manufacturing, which is a dying sector in Jordan due to over-taxation and custom levies – but rather the innovation that is born from IT startups and even the homemade productions that such a shift can empower. People with an innovative service or product can now launch their ambitions from home and not have to drain every ounce of capital they have on useless registration forms. Just a guy, a laptop, and an idea. I see capital expenditures and running costs being slashed, if not eliminated during the startup phase, simply because you wouldn’t be required to have an office, and a license, and rent payments, and, and, and.
If such a policy is headed our way it will also have to be met with a complementary tax system that embraces these kinds of businesses. And this is often where the government stops short. But suffice to say, if that does emerge, it will be an economic game-changer