Jordan's PM tries to calm fears of fuel price increase

Published November 11th, 2012 - 08:37 GMT
Can Jordan's Ensour calm the nerves of citizens?
Can Jordan's Ensour calm the nerves of citizens?

Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour on Saturday said any Jordanian family with a total household income less than JD1,000 will not be affected by the increase in fuel prices should the government lift subsidies.

“Lifting fuel subsidies will not affect 70 per cent of citizens,” Ensour said at a meeting with administrative governors and members of executive committees from the Kingdom’s governorates.

The prime minister said the government has examined the country’s economic situation in detail and is planning to take decisions related to the economy soon.

“The country’s financial situation is tough, and we cannot wait for long,” Ensour said, highlighting the role of meetings such as the one held on Saturday in discussing the Kingdom’s economy.

“Public employees will receive the subsidies in cash in advance, while private sector employees and the others will receive cheques,” he said, adding that those without a national number will not receive anything.

“Subsidies have caused the public debt to increase to more than JD15 billion, topping the legal 60 per cent mark of the gross domestic product at 75 per cent,” Ensour said.

Noting that the draft illicit fortunes law is ready and will be sent to the new Parliament after the January 23 elections, the premier said the government has been working on cutting public expenditure since it took office.

Ensour said the government is planning to merge or scrap some independent public institutions and limit the movement of public vehicles under a package of legislation, but stressed that these laws cannot be passed in the absence of a Lower House.

The premier added that the state budget will be unambiguous, pointing out that the government will not be hiring anyone.

Officials at the meeting said Jordanians should support the government’s imminent decision to lift fuel subsidies, highlighting that in their current form, subsidies do not benefit the intended segment of low-income Jordanians but instead support non-Jordanians and tourists.

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