Jordan’s King orders freeze of fuel price hikes

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Jordan’s King Abdullah ordered the government on Friday, to freeze an increase on fuel prices and electricity, which it has earlier passed.

According to the King’s office and in a statement released Friday, the king said that this decision was taken due to “the economic conditions” through the holy month of Ramadan, and after popular protests in the capital Amman and other cities in the last 24 hours.

Earlier the government announced a hike in the prices of gasoline and diesel between 4.7 percent and 5.5 percent and electricity by 19 percent, which angered the Jordanians who went to the streets of the capital and other cities late Thursday night through Friday, calling for the toppling of the government.

More than a thousand citizens gathered late Thursday night till Friday morning in front the Jordanian government building chanting slogans calling for the toppling of the government.

This is the fifth increase on fuel prices since the start of 2018.

The Jordanian capital Amman was ranked first in the Arab world in terms of cost of living and the twenty-eighth on the world, according to a recent study published by the “The Economist.”

According to official figures, poverty has risen since the beginning of the year to 20 percent while unemployment reached 18.5 percent with average wages reaching $600 per month with minimum wages topping $300.

In recent years Jordan’s economic growth has been hit by regional conflicts weighing on investor sentiment and as consumer demand generated by Syrian refugees staying in Jordan has receded, according to the IMF.

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