New electricity tariffs to exacerbate ‘unemployment’, ‘economic decline’ — analysis

3. Power Lines Jordan
An undated photo of power lines in Jordan. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
AMMAN — Economic experts have cautioned against a further economic decline and higher unemployment rates due to recently introduced electric tariffs and increased fuel prices, although the government announced that the impact of the new tariffs would spare 90 percent of citizens, and promised there will not be any new taxes during 2022. However, experts believe that the government has not stayed true to its promise, and has added new taxes, while the tariff increase is bound to affect everyone.اضافة اعلان

Economic expert Yusuf Mansur sees that the negative impact of the tariff increase is indisputable, since an increase in energy costs will affect the production and transportation of goods, and consequently will negatively affect the economy, leading to higher unemployment, inflation, regressive production, weakening competitiveness and an eventual closure of many businesses.

“The claim that this will only affect a certain group of people is naive in terms of premise and analysis because you cannot contain inflation to one group of people,” Mansur told Jordan News.

He said that if businesses were required to pay extra fees for electricity, their earnings would decrease, and this would lead them to increase the prices of their products to compensate for the loss, leading others to buy those products at inflated prices, which would eventually result in a series of hikes that affect everybody. “The economy is interconnected like the human body,” he noted.

Economic researcher Mohammad Al-Basheer told Jordan News that he has not been able to observe how impactful the newly introduced tariff categories will be on the industrial, agricultural, and commerce sectors in addition as well as on citizens, adding that this is not a good time for “people to handle new financial adventures, especially after in light of the pandemic.” He added that the new tariffs would be hard on Jordanians and foreigners residing in Jordan, as it will overburden employers, increase inflation and add economic pressures.

“That is why we have reservations (about the tariffs) because it further intensifies the burdens created by the pandemic, as it will show on food prices, shipping costs, and constructions materials,” Basheer said.

Economic analyst Mazen Irshid told Jordan News that the government is fully aware of the tariff’s impact but is withholding essential information. He said the government must be completely transparent and provide a comparison of an average electricity bill based on the old and new tariff. “We want to know the key point, which is what the rate of the electricity tariff will be!” He added that Jordan remains one of the most expensive countries in the region in relation to the power bills imposed on all types of consumers and industrial establishments, adding that “this would thwart foreign investment, which is already in a state of constant decline, as electricity is one piece in a connected chain.”

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