Close to a year and a half ago, exactly around the ides of 2014, we celebrated the launch of the construction of a clothes factory, and we rooted for it given it would be providing 1000 job opportunities for the ladies of Tafileh. Even though I don’t know why these opportunities were given only for women; is it because there is a dominant misconception that this kind of work is not fitting of men? Notwithstanding the officially readied rationale that female unemployment in that area is high; although most of them are educated, and many of them carry primary university degrees, but limited opportunities force them to work in facilities like these that barely stick to minimum wage salaries.
Nonetheless, Minister of Labour Dr Nidal Qatamin sponsored the ceremony back then, and dazzled us with big words on employing female youth, particularly as a solution to the situation of the people of “Basira”, whose sufferings are well known to the Minister above else, since he is a son of the very city; one of the Kingdom’s poverty pockets.
The factory was supposed to be up and running October last year, but never did; for one reason or another. And this is not —at all, the first time an investment in Jordan generally, inclusive of Tafileh, hits a brick wall. Incidents of this sort have occasioned times before; despite the variance, they all signify one problem: the Government’s failure to support investment; new or standing, all the same.
Accordingly, news about the “Basira” factory’s construction did not last long. Just a few days ago, it was announced that the factory’s construction has been suspended; surprisingly to the community that has built its high hopes on it a year and a half ago, only to be shocked by the bitter truth of the factory’s never coming into existence; hence, no employments for the young women seeking better lives.
The factory was designed as stone buildings, then these buildings were substituted by metal hangers; perhaps to control costs or may because the project’s continuity was never guaranteed in the first place. Nonetheless, it was never completed, and all the people of Basira see are holes in the ground with rubbles and dirt piles around them!
The justifications provided today for the suspension of the construction, regardless of their rationality and reasonability, revolve around missing clearances and approvals for the project’s owner to move their vehicles and machinery from designated, licenced areas in Irbid to the construction site in the south, or exemptions that were not extended from their factory in the north, even though the law is clear about exemptions and clearances limited to designated industrial areas.
Back to the young women of Basira and women on the side-lines, they certainly did not need another reason to add to their frustration and hopelessness, they settled for suffering, but that did not do. And there is no doubt the new generation, as well as their parents, will talk about the governments’ failures to keep their promises. More so, the injustices endured in the remote areas of Jordan, and governorates too, have become clear to these women, and they fully understand it, “thanks” to the governments’ shortcomings.
The completion of the Basira factory has been put off, at best, or maybe even wholly decommissioned. Such an event is of unimaginably greater dimensions, for example, than those of the suspension of works on the sixth circle towers for years. Why? Because frustration outside of Amman, particularly in remote places, festers and swells in the hearts of residents so dispatched from the sights of officials. And reciting the Kingdom-wide perils of this should not be necessary; socially, politically, and security-wise.
With that said, it is evident that the Basira factory should be forfeit. Contrarily, resolving any obstacle to its completion and operation is the only choice, and fast. Especially with time passing for the young women devoid of hope, along with them their families.
There were 1000 female youths to be employed at the factory, who already started knitting wishes and dreams —big and small. But they now have no idea whether or not any of their dreams will come true; or will it all go with the wind?