(MENAFN - Jordan Times) Deputies on Tuesday urged the government to refrain from increasing the prices of basic commodities and to find other ways to address the Kingdom's economic woes instead of resorting to "citizens' empty pockets".
In a session set aside for discussing unscheduled topics, several MPs also called for expediting the enactment of the remaining reform-oriented laws, while others called on the government to upgrade the quality of services, create job opportunities and implement development projects in their districts.
"Citizens are facing difficult financial situations and the government should not increase prices of basic commodities under any circumstances," said Deputy Mubarak Tawal (Madaba, 1st District), calling on the government to find other solutions to the budget deficit.
Karak Deputy Talal Maaytah said that citizens' economic situation has reached a "red line", pointing out that any unexamined rush to increase prices of basic commodities would lead to more tension in the street.
"Consecutive governments always resort to citizens' empty pockets to address economic difficulties," Deputy Wasfi Rawashdeh (Maan, 2nd District) charged.
Responding to deputies' remarks, Prime Minister Fayez Tarawneh noted that low- and middle-income families would not be affected under any future increase of prices of basic commodities, stressing that the prices of oil derivatives would not be touched at all.
"I know... what kerosene and diesel mean to citizens but why should the government subsidise fuel derivatives that are bought by foreign vessels and aeroplanes," the premier said.
Tarawneh expressed bewilderment towards the "luxurious" lifestyles of ministers and senior officials, alluding to probable austerity measures the government might impose.
MPs Mazen Qadi (Northern Badia), Mohammad Kouz (Amman, 2nd District), Reem Badran (Amman, 3rd District) and Raad Ben Tarif (Karak, 6th District) called for speeding up the enactment of the remaining reform-oriented laws, including the draft elections, political parties and constitutional court laws, and giving them priority over any other issue, citing His Majesty King Abdullah's Monday meeting with deputies in which he urged for accelerating reforms.
"The current challenges and regional developments require us [deputies] to speed up the reform process and quickly enact the reform-oriented laws," Qadi said.
Meanwhile, MP Mefleh Khazaaleh (Mafraq, 1st District) criticised what he described as "partial and biased" coverage of the House's sessions by some media outlets, including official media, saying that "they have exaggerated events and made people hate and disrespect MPs".
Southern Badia MPs Hamad Hajaya, Mohammad Maraayah and Awwad Zawaydeh called on the government to pay more attention to the difficult financial situations of people in the southern region, arguing that some live in poverty and deprivation despite the fact that most of the "wealthy" mining companies are operating in their areas.
Deputies Mamdouh Abbadi (Amman, 3rd District), Atiyyeh and Mohammad Dawaimeh (Zarqa), called on the government to intervene and find a solution to the situation of UNRWA workers who have been on strike since Sunday, demanding salary increases.
Abbad charged that UNRWA workers in all of its fields of operations except Jordan had recently received raises.
The House issued a statement yesterday expressing solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners in Israel who have been on hunger strike for several weeks, calling on world parliaments to help the Palestinians gain their legitimate rights and put more pressure on Israel to end its subjugation of the Palestinian people.