Jordan's government is considering a hike in the price of some petrol products in order to fund the kingdom's municipalities, Energy Minister Mohammad Batayneh said Sunday.
"The government is actually studying an increase in prices for certain petrol derivatives," he told AFP, without naming which ones.
But sources told Albawaba.com that coking gas and petrol are the two products targeted with the hike, both largely used in the kingdom.
The minister cautioned any price hike would be "light, in order to take into consideration the living conditions of Jordanians with limited incomes."
Albawaba.com sources confirmed that the rise would not be substantial.
However, a Jordanian former member of House warned that such move would lead to instability in the country, already stricken by poverty and unemployment.
In 1989, a hike in petrol prices led to riots in the southern part of Jordan, that led, according to the opposition, to the return of the long-awaited parliamentary life.
Batayneh told the agency that there is a need for a price hike due to inflation in oil prices worldwide.
The Jordanian daily Al-Rai reported that the additional revenue would be allocated to Jordan's municipalities, which face a budget deficit of 70 million dinars (100 million dollars).
Batayneh did not reveal any date for the measure, said the agency.
The minister added that fuel prices remain lower in Jordan than "in neighboring countries, or even in oil producing countries."
Jordan imports all its oil from Iraq, amounting to some five million tons annually. Half of the figure is purchased at a bargain price, while the rest is delivered free of charge under a deal approved by the UN.
Jordan faces a budget deficit of 253 million dollars for 2001.
The government had announced plans to raise fuel prices at the end of 2000 before suspending the move "temporarily." – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )