In an interview with Jordan TV on Friday, Ensour said that if deputies suggested “convincing” alternatives to address the National Electric Power Company’s (NEPCO) annual deficit of JD1.2 billion ($1.7 billion), the move would not be taken.
Ensour added that his government will suggest in the House solutions to NEPCO’s deficit and will not take any decision to increase electricity prices until providing MPs with all the facts and figures about the company’s annual losses, which are blamed on the electricity subsidy.
The financial difficulties were aggravated by the disruption in Egyptian gas supplies as a result of frequent sabotages on the pipeline and Cairo’s decision to lower quantities sold to Jordan below levels stipulated by a deal signed between the two countries.
Egyptian gas was used to generate 80 per cent of the Kingdom’s electricity needs. The alternative has been reliance on the costly heavy fuel oil.
“I do not want to take the decision [increasing electricity prices] myself… It will be a collective decision taken after consultation with deputies,” the premier told JTV’s Friday morning show, adding that the decision to lift the subsidy is “exclusively under the government’s jurisdiction, while the legislative authority’s role is to monitor the performance of the government”.
He also said that if deputies fail to provide workable solutions to NEPCO’s accumulated budget deficit, the government “will be forced to increase prices in a way that will not affect the poor”.
The premier also said that he will begin consultations with parliamentary blocs over including deputies in the Cabinet, announcing that a reshuffle will take place soon.