PM: Gov't to refrain from any surprise decision on fuel subsidy, open to all
Amman, Nov 3 (Petra) -- Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour said on Saturday his
government will not pass any surprise decision on the fuel subsidy but only
after thorough consultation and acceptance by the public, stressing the
government's openness to all on how best to address economic and financial
"We are in the consultation phase. So far, there's no decision since the
subject has not been put for discussion at the Council of Ministers," he
told editors of daily newspapers and columnists. But he said panels are
currently mulling the scenario of full compensation for low- and
medium-income groups for lifting the subsidy on oil derivatives.
Ensour stressed that the rich, not any other social segment, should bear a
subsidy waiver, adding that a social compensation plan under consideration
will ensure that the targeted segments will not be directly or indirectly
affected by a subsidy removal.
He told the journalists at the meeting, attended by finance minister
Suleiman Al Hafez and minister of state for media affairs and communications
and minister of culture Samih Maytah, that low-income people will receive a
direct cash subsidy exceeding the commodity's cost.
During the meeting, part of a national dialogue he kicked off on Thursday
with civil society institutions, Ensour said that the government is open to
all opinions and ready to adopt feasible and applicable solutions as it
grapples to reduce a swelling budget deficit and remedy economic defects.
The Prime Minister said the deficit in the state budget is projected to soar
to over JD2.5 billion by the year's end, ascribing the rise to sky-high oil
prices and disruption of Egyptian gas supplies.
He also said that public debt had exceeded safe levels to 72 per cent of
GDP, adding: "This tough economic and financial situation requires a
national, down-to-earth attitude to clarify the reality of things. So, it is
an extremely dangerous situation and we must think together how to cross
this phase." Ensour also said the government had taken practical steps to
cut spending but denied adoption of the vehicle odd-even system to reduce
the fuel bill.
//Petra//SS 3/11/2012 - 04:44:00 PM