JORDAN has announced huge 76 per cent fuel price increases.
In a statement the Jordanian government said that domestic fuel and kerosene prices had been raised by 76.1 per cent from Friday with petrol prices climbing three per cent, nine per cent and 33 per cent depending on quality.
As a ‘temporary winter measure’, Amman will maintain a subsidy on bottled gas until April 1, although the price has been increased by 53 per cent, from 4.25 to 6.50 dinars (9.15 dollars).
Economists expect that from April the price will jump to around 10 dinars.
Last month, Prime Minister Nader Dahabi said during the budget debate that to alleviate problems faced by Jordanians, salaries would be increased and backdated to January 1.
This covered salaries for all public sector employees, civilians and military, as well as those on pensions, with direct financial help going to the poorest workers in the private sector.
‘These increases are between 63 to 70 dollars a month for the public sector, and with a range of 150 to 220 dollars a month for those families whose annual income is 1,000 dollars or less,’ a government minister, not wishing to be named, said at the time.
Some families have to survive on part-time work, paid at a lower rate than the minimum monthly wage of 155 dollars for full-time employment.
The increases and other measures will reach some 60 per cent of Jordan’s population of 5.8 million.
MPs and political parties, particularly the opposition Islamic Action Front, have been warning against rising prices which they said could ‘constitute a real catastrophe’.
They have also warned that ‘price freedom’ will ‘lead to social tensions that will be difficult if not impossible to control’.
Jordanians still have memories of the violent riots in April 1989 that broke out in the south following a rise in bread prices, that resulted in 12 deaths.
Other riots erupted in 1996 after bread prices rose again, although the situation was quickly brought under control by the Jordanian army.
Jordan has seen a series of sit-in strikes and demonstrations against the ending of state control of fuel prices.
The country used to get cut price oil from neighbouring Iraq, but the overthrow of Saddam Hussein by the Anglo-US alliance put an end to that.
None of the oil states that backed the overthrow of Saddam, such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, were willing to do what Saddam did for Jordan to keep it and its people in work with cheap Iraqi oil.
As a result, the kingdom has already had to increase fuel prices five times, and the latest budget has freed prices for the commodity, ending an era of government subsidies that kept Jordan stable and ruleable by the pro-British Hashemite monarchy.
In another measure to help the poorest sector the government has decided to exempt 13 basic necessities from tax, including milk, the price of which had jumped 40 per cent.
Jordan is heading for a revolution. The poor have no alternative but to rise up to overthrow the monarchy and the government in order to cut prices so that their families can live.
Throughout the capitalist world, especially what is called the developing world, the massive inflation of oil prices has caused hunger, poverty and war, and is about to bring revolution.
In Sri Lanka there have been massive rises in the cost of food and in the cost of transport thanks to rapidly rising oil prices.
The Sri Lankan workers are demanding that the trade unions win wage rises, while the Western powers are telling the government that as well as combating the Tamil Tigers it must confront and defeat the trade unions.
However, the United States is the centre of the world capitalist crisis while Britain is the weakest link in the chain of the advanced capitalist countries. The only practical policy for socialists is to struggle for the victory of the world socialist revolution.