Jordan to distribute second round of fuel support

Published March 4th, 2013 - 06:21 GMT
Jordan is set to hand out the next round of cash support following the increase in the cost of fuel
Jordan is set to hand out the next round of cash support following the increase in the cost of fuel

[Jordan's] Energy Minister Alaa Batayneh on Sunday said that the government will be distributing the second payment of the cash support at the beginning of April.

He made the remarks during discussions with the Parliament’s financial committee over the budget of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources.

During the meeting, Batayneh said that “the monthly fuel-pricing scheme in place has increased citizens’ trust in the mechanism and the credibility of the pricing system”.

Currently, fuel prices are announced monthly by a pricing committee as they fluctuate in accordance with changes to world markets.

The new subsidy regime, under which the first instalment of a direct cash payments was delivered to low- and medium-income Jordanian families in November, followed a government’s decision to lift fuel subsidies, which led to a significant rise in price of key fuels and stirred protests and riots in several parts of the Kingdom.

Authorities say the decision to lift subsidies and sell fuel products at cost was taken to avoid further financial losses to the Treasury, as the cost of subsidies to last year’s budget was estimated at JD800 million ($1 trillion). The fat energy bill is blamed on disruptions in Egyptian gas supplies and rising oil prices on international markets.

Under the new subsidy system, each individual from households that consist of six members or less, and whose income is less than JD800 a month ($1000) or JD10,000 ($14000) a year, is entitled to JD70 annually to compensate for the price increases.

“Unlike what is said by those who believe there is an ongoing political conspiracy,” the reason oil was not uncovered in Jordan is due to the lack of funds at the Natural Resources Authority, said Batayneh.

He added that the exploration projects cost “hundreds of millions of dollars”, while the authority’s budget is “nothing but few millions”.

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