(MENAFN - Jordan Times) Street reactions to the government's plans to raise electricity tariffs varied between rejecting it completely or accepting it as a necessary move to address the Kingdom's financial difficulties.
The government has said that it will raise electricity tariffs to counter an expected loss of more than JD1.5 billion in the energy sector resulting from the halt in Egyptian gas supplies. The Kingdom's energy bill exceeded JD4 billion in 2011.
Some Jordanians interviewed by The Jordan Times on Tuesday expressed the need for individuals to share the burden of responsibility in facing the country's unprecedented financial challenges, while others criticised the government's plans, saying that other austerity measures can be taken without resorting to citizens' pockets.
"Why do the successive governments immediately resort to citizens' pockets every time they are in a financial crisis?" wondered Mohammad Hourani, a resident of the northeastern city of Zarqa, located 22km away from the capital.
"Since the popular movements started last year, several cases of corruption have been uncovered, but less action has been taken by the authorities to address them. If they want to address the financial deficit they should combat corruption," he added.
Commenting on Parliament's decision yesterday to give lawmakers lifetime pensions, Zaki Kreishan argued that the decision contradicts the government's statements on financial burdens.
"This decision will cost millions" the MPs set an example to the public in rationing expenses," Kreishan said sarcastically, stressing that living conditions are already getting worse, especially with rising prices.
However, others said that consumers can control their bills by rationing the use of electricity.
"We have to admit that we have a problem," said Atef Mashaqbeh.
"There are so many unnecessary appliances in our houses that we can do without or at least limit their operating hours such as computers, TVs and washing machines," he noted.
But he stressed that the government should take into account those who have financial difficulties.
Although the government decision is yet to be detailed on the percentage of the expected increase depending on monthly power consumption, Mashaqbeh voiced hope that the authorities would take the limited-income class into consideration.
"The government says it subsidises electricity by hundreds of millions but - in fact - the majority of this subsidy goes to the well off who have hi-tech appliances in their houses," he charged.
Meanwhile, Nuha Abulwadood, a schoolteacher in Amman, suggested that the government's support should only target Jordanians, claiming that hundreds of thousands of non-Jordanians benefit from the government subsidy.
"Why should a Jordanian pay for what a non-Jordanian is taking advantage of?" she asked, expressing fear that any increase in electricity tariffs will lead to hikes in prices of other essential items.