Jordan’s prime minister on Thursday said he decided to expand subsidies for fuel and staple products and raising salaries for civil servants at a cost of $425 million in 2011.
Samir Rifai’s declaration came amid public anger at an "insufficient" government subsidy program.
Last week, the government declared a $125 million package of new subsidies for fuel and staple products like sugar and rice. The move appeared to be sparked by fears similar protests to those in Tunisia.
Thursday’s package comprises of a raise for civil servants, and an increase in pensions for retired military and civilian personnel as of Jan. 1. According to the AP, Rifai said the subsidies would also cover livestock and liquefied gas used for heating and cooking.
Last Sunday, representatives of the Jordanian trade unions and 14 opposition parties protested peacefully in front of the House of Representatives in Amman against Rifai government's economic policy. The protest was organized by the Islamic Action Front Party, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, which vowed to carry out more rallies.
According to official data, the rate of unemployment in the Kingdom stands at 14.3%, while independent sources put the figure at 30%. The rate of poverty in the Kingdom amounts to 25%.