Government will not lift bread subsidies – premier

Prime Minister Marouf Bakhit said on Wednesday the government has a ‘moral obligation’ to maintain bread subsidies for all (Petra file photo)

By Khaled Neimat, JORDAN TIMES

AMMAN – The government will continue to subsidise bread for all social segments, according to a senior official.

In a meeting with the editorial staff of Al Rai and The Jordan Times dailies on Wednesday, Prime Minster Marouf Bakhit dismissed as “baseless” reports that the government discussed means to restrict bread subsidies to citizens through smart cards.

“This government will not lift bread subsidies and did not discuss selling this basic commodity through smart cards. In addition, it will not agree to different bread prices for Jordanians and non-Jordanians,” Bakhit said, noting that such measures would apply to other products and goods such as fuel.

“We talked about the smart card option to deliver financial support to beneficiaries before lifting subsidies on other commodities, but not for bread,” he added, during the visit to the Jordan Press Foundation.

The premier said he believes that subsidies should target those who need them, but when it comes to bread, the state has a “moral obligation” to maintain subsidies for everyone.

The government has not yet decided on the mechanism to ensure that subsidies are delivered to the right people.

According to the finance ministry, the cost of subsidies to keep the prices of bread, fodder and gas cylinders at their current levels is around JD350 million.

In previous remarks to The Jordan Times, Minster of Finance Mohammad Abu Hammour said the bill for subsidising fuel derivatives and basic commodities is the budget’s biggest challenge.

With the bill to subsidise fuel derivatives set to reach JD700 million this year, in addition to the subsidies on other basic commodities and services such as electricity and water, Abu Hammour noted that the overall value of subsidies is projected to reach JD1.4 billion.

Categories: Asia, Economics, Jordan, Middle East

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