The government is considering a hike in the price of regular and super petrol of 14 percent as one option to help offset the higher price of crude oil to be imported from Iraq next year, according to Al Rai Arabic daily on Saturday.
The report, quoting informed official sources, said that as a result of the new oil deal concluded with Iraq last month, Jordan will pay JD180 million more for five million tones of oil imports in 2001 but can only afford JD80 million of the additional amount, and thus the balance should be raised through oil price increases.
During the presentation of the 2001 fiscal budget to Parliament last week, Finance Minister Michel Marto said the oil price hikes were necessary in order to avoid cutting down on crucial public expenditure and to implement the infrastructure projects required to attract investors and improve public services including health and education.
According to Al Rai, the government has another option: To impose the lion's share of the increase on the price of petrol and to slightly raise the price of other oil products like diesel fuel, gas and kerosene.
Last Wednesday, 42 Lower House deputies signed a petition protesting the government's plan to hike petrol or other oil derivative prices.
Al Rai said the government plans to consult with the House Finance Committee to reach an acceptable formula whereby any oil price increase would not be hard on low and limited income groups.
The report said the government was hoping to reach a compromise solution before the House starts debating the fiscal budget on Sunday.
( Jordan Times )
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