HM King Abdullah pays historical visit to Jordan’s garment factory
Jordan’s King visits Al Safi Garment Factory on Labour Day hailing the job opportunities created by the country’s garment sector for its people.
2 May 2016.
Madaba, Jordan – His Majesty King Abdullah paid a visit on May 2 to a garment factory in Jordan’s central city of Madaba, praising the workers’ efforts and contribution to the country’s development and progress.
The King made his remarks during a visit to Al Safi Garment Factory in Dleilet Al Hamaideh area on the occasion of Labour Day, a Royal Court statement read.
According to the statement, His Majesty chatted with workers at the facility on the week’s first working day and checked on the factory’s production line, while listening to success stories of the 400 employees in the plant, 90 percent of whom are women.
The factory, which also gives jobs to 16 persons with disabilities, was established under a Royal initiative dubbed “productive branches” in 2009. The programme aimed to address poverty and unemployment, especially in the country’s rural areas, and provide training and jobs to young people.
The Royal Court provided the plot of land to establish the factory at a cost of JD1.37 million ($1,93 million), following an agreement between the Ministry of Labour and Al Safi Company for Clothes —owned by Sri Lanka’s international MAS Active Company for Clothes.
King Abdullah expressed his admiration for the accomplishments achieved by factory workers, along with other workers and employees across the Kingdom, who had received the necessary training to obtain jobs that would secure them a decent living and career development, the statement said.
His Majesty was also briefed by Farhan Afram, the factory’s manager, on the work mechanism at the facility, which operates within the qualified industrial zones system.
Under Royal directives, the factory will be equipped with air conditioners to provide a better working environment for workers, which would further improve their performance and achievement, according to the statement.
Afram said that the visit of His Majesty was a “confirmation of the investment that MAS Active has made to improve its infrastructure and training, with the intention of making it financially viable, and positioning the plant as the best amongst the public-private partnership to create jobs for Jordanians in rural areas.”
The factory’s total production is exported to the US under the free trade agreement with Jordan.
Commenting on the visit, Dina Khayyat, President of the Jordan Garments, Accessories and Textiles Exporters’ Association (JGATE), said His Majesty has always encouraged the private sector to open factories in rural areas to create jobs for the local community, thus raising their standard of living.
“The garment factory branches are a living example of this,” she said. “They employ locals, produce garments under the label “Made In Jordan,” and export to the US market for US brands and companies under the Free Trade Agreement between the two countries.”
Giving jobs to thousands, Khayyat said the garment industry is the largest exporting sector in the country, recording ten percent annual growth.
“Women make up 70 percent of the sector’s workforce,” she said. “It complies with the ILO’ and buyers’ international standards and initiated two Collective Bargaining Agreements between the employers and employees’ union, while also successfully accomplishing one Unified Contract for all migrant workers translated into several languages.”
Khayyat said she hoped the sector will attract more Jordanians in the future, especially female workers, and that she looked forward for the EU’s support to encourage investment within the country and the upcoming opening of the EU market to Jordanian products.
His Majesty was accompanied by Royal Court Chief Fayez Tarawneh, King’s Office Director Jafar Hassan, Royal Court Secretary General Yousef Issawi and other senior officials.
Jordan’s daily The Jordan Times quoted Issawi as saying the factory in Madaba was not the first to be set up as part of the initiative, saying that 16 other facilities have been previously established, creating over 3,000 jobs across the country.
Fathallah Omrani, President of the General Trade Union of Workers in Textile, Garment and Clothing Industries, said the visit of His Majesty was a generous gesture to encourage Jordanian labourers to engage in work, especially in the interest of young people and women, to motivate them to work in all sectors.
“This is not the first gesture from the King, who has already supported the industry in 2005 and 2009 when the sector suffered recession in its production,” Omrani said. “This support played a major role in the growth of the sector and its expansion, as shown by the high percentage of Jordanians employed and its rising exports, which exceeded $1.5 billion in 2015.”