Gov’t will raise fuel prices even if they stay the same globally — Kharabsheh

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AMMAN — Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, Saleh Al-Kharabsheh, said Wednesday that fuel prices in Jordan, which increase since the beginning of this month, “reflect (international) oil prices at $85 a barrel,” according to local media outlets.اضافة اعلان

“Regarding the successive rises in gasoline prices, today the price of derivatives reflects the price of a barrel of oil at $85,” he said at a press conference.

He also spoke of “a need to increase prices to reach international levels.”

The cost of one liter of diesel globally is JD.081, but the government has set a price at least JD.013 lower, said Kharabsheh. He added that the rise in fuel prices is a reality that must be dealt with, adding that “we need to raise fuel prices, even if oil prices do not rise globally — to reach international levels.”

On Tuesday, Minister of Interior Mazen Al-Faraya said that the government had lost JD450 million due to fixing the price of fuel derivatives in the first three months of this year.

He indicated that “there is an inclination to raise fuel prices for four consecutive times in the coming months.”

Faraya’s statements sparked widespread controversy at various political, parliamentary, and social levels, alongside his statements about the possibility of the government triggering four hikes in fuel prices in the coming month.

In response, the Secretary-General of the Ministry of Energy Amani Al-Azzam confirmed that prices of oil derivatives would rise gradually during the coming period, leading to full implementation of the approved pricing mechanism of petroleum derivatives by the end of August.

Due to the successive rises in fuel prices in the past two months, lawmakers have been prompted to hold the government responsible for failing to address the rising issues in the energy sector.

Representative Musa Abu Hantash warned against the increase in the prices of oil derivatives, citing people’s inability to bear the cost.

Abu Hantash told AmmanNet that the government buys oil and fuel derivatives at international prices, but the problem lies in the continued imposition of a fixed tax on fuels, which amounts to about JD1.2 billion annually. Citizens bear this tax burden, he said.

The government justified raising the prices of oil derivatives by saying that the latest rise of 14–22 percent is a cost difference. It said fixing the prices of diesel, kerosene, and gas despite the significant increases has also caused a rise in prices. They also noted the considerable rise in import costs, which occurred due to high freight costs and a shortage of supplies, as another reason.

Energy expert Amer Al-Shobaki said he considers the government’s statements not surprising, stressing that there are upcoming hikes resulting from the government’s insistence on maintaining the fixed tax on oil derivatives despite the sharp global increase in oil prices.

“These successive increases will hurt citizens more at the beginning of next winter,” Shobaki told AmmanNet.

Activists on social media have launched a campaign under the hashtag “park your car” and carried out several sit-ins at several political parties’ headquarters in protest of the recent government increase. They are calling for a change in government economic policies. 

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