At least 45 deputies have signed a petition urging the government to step back from increasing oil prices in Jordan, a Lower House member said Sunday.
Mahmoud Kharabsheh said Lower House members who signed the petition, which was submitted to the Parliament this week, will not approve any decision to increase oil prices.
Last week, Minister of Finance Michel Marto said raising oil prices was necessary to reduce the deficit in the JD2.3 billion budget for the upcoming year.
Marto, who was speaking to Parliament, said such a decision was a "must" following the renewal of the oil protocol between Jordan and Iraq.
The new agreement stipulated the price increase from $19 per barrel to $21 for Jordan's importation of oil from its eastern neighbour.
Marto said the Iraqi decision will cost Jordan JD180 million more than this year.
This oil proposal has now prompted the Lower House to circulate a petition in opposition to the measure.
"The Jordanian citizen cannot bear any increase [in oil prices]," Kharabsheh told his colleagues during the ordinary session on Sunday.
During the session, Prime Minister Ali Abul Ragheb said any decision to approve the increase of oil prices should come from Parliament.
Abul Ragheb indicated that the draft budget law, which was submitted to Parliament on Wednesday and included a proposal to hike oil prices, will be reviewed by the Financial Committee of the Parliament.
He said the government is ready to discuss the proposal with the committee in a joint session.
Meanwhile, Kharabsheh said that at least 30 Lower House members have signed a petition demanding the establishment of an anti-normalisation committee to fight any normalisation of ties with Israel.
He said normalisation of ties with Israel is causing a "threat to the nation and only serves the ends of the Zionist enemy." Jordan and Israel signed a peace treaty in October 1994.
( Jordan Times )
By Tareq Ayyoub
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )