The Ministry of Social Development has started preparations to distribute JD100 in cash assistance to identified underprivileged families, under a Royal makruma, as the fasting month of Ramadan approaches.
Social Development Ministry Secretary General Omar Hamzah made the announcement on Tuesday during a visit by Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour to the ministry.
At a meeting with Social Development Minister Reem Abu Hassan and other officials, the premier highlighted the important role of the ministry and its growing tasks, especially in light of global economic difficulties that created social problems in many countries.
Jordan has also been affected by regional crises, he said, noting that this has put pressures on the economy and on families. Society, represented by its government, should not let underprivileged people down, Ensour added.
Reviewing the ministry’s efforts, Abu Hassan said the biggest challenge is regulating foreign aid provided in response to the Syrian crisis and ensuring that the needs of host communities are taken into account.
National Aid Fund President Basma Ishaqat said around 88,000 families, comprising around 0.25 million Jordanians, are receiving aid, which amounts to over JD90 million.
Also on Tuesday, Ensour visited the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs and stressed that it should play an active role in religious guidance.
The premier, who was accompanied by Minister of State for Media Affairs and Communications Mohammad Momani during the two visits, highlighted the ministry’s important role at a time when the Muslim nation is witnessing “unprecedented” disarray. 
Describing this period as difficult, he said the nation is torn apart as it “sleeps and wakes up to the sight of blood”.
Ensour emphasised the ministry’s role in guiding people to the right source of information as they seek the truth, adding that it should keep abreast of the modernisation and development process, reflect the true image of Islam and fight backwardness.
Public money should be managed in a fair, transparent manner, and the ministry should be a model to follow in this regard, he added.
Awqaf Minister Hayel Dawood said the ministry has concluded preparations for its guidance, assistance and zakat (Islamic tax on income) programmes for Ramadan, the ninth month of the Hijri lunar calendar, when Muslims abstain from food and drink from dawn to sunset and focus on doing good deeds.
Dawood highlighted the challenges facing the ministry’s work, mainly the shortage in the number of imams, especially since most of the graduates of Sharia (Islamic law) colleges are females.
At the meeting, Hajj Fund Director Wael Arabiyat said its subscribers have reached 10,000 and its assets stand at JD16 million.
Mohammad Lozi, the acting director of the Zakat Fund, said additional assistance will be allocated for underprivileged families benefiting from the fund during Ramadan, which starts later this month.