Bird Flu & Fuel Prices (Part Deux)

Some news in continuation of these two recent hot topics in the country.

First, the Egyptian worker who was Jordan’s first case of Bird Flu has recovered and left the hospital…

“The patient has completed his treatment. He has recovered and left hospital,” said the director of the Karak state hospital in southern Jordan, Sultan Tarawneh

He actually caught it while slaughtering birds at an Egyptian farm that had caught the flu before coming into Jordan with it.

The World Health Organization is now expected to declare the country Bird Flu free in the days to come following his recovery.

Second, with fuel prices just being raised to reduce the budget deficit, several Islamist members of the IAF were arrested on Saturday for a brief period. Apparently they were distributing leaflets that called on stores to observe a 2 hour work stoppage on Sunday to protest the price hike. But no one cared and the shops remained open. I think it was a silly move from the IAF. Prices have just increased and they’re asking people to close their stores so they wonâ??t make any money. What kind of store owner is going to adhere to that?

But either way the IAF did organize a (very small) protest outside the King Abdullah mosque and they made some pretty reasonable points in my opinion…

â??“The Islamic Action Front had offered the authorities a string of alternatives, such as raising customs tariffs on alcoholic beverages and cigarettes to avoid fuel price increases,” Abu Ragheb said.

“The government did not listen to us,” he said, adding that instead of raising prices the authorities should reduce government spending.

Heneidi also told the rally that the authorities should “tackle, first, rampant corruption”.

The IAF and opposition parties have also called for a sit-in outside parliament but said that Amman governor Saad al-Manasseer refused to give them a permit. [source]�

‘No to the policy of impoverishing people’

Why not raise custom tariffs on alcohol and cigarettes? Why not make a greater attempt to wipe out corruption? Why is it always that fuel seems to be the first resort? Simple: because it’s the easiest and it has the most impact economically. The problem is that it’s the most damaging in the long run. People now have to spend more on fuel, consume more fuel, more fuel needs to be imported, wages stay the same so families spend more and invest less, more people go broke, poverty increases, on and on and on. In the long run a rise in fuel prices to reduce the deficit only ends up increasing the deficit. Instead the people will get empty promises of compensation and their standards of living will decrease substantially in the meantime.

And I’m positive that if the government was determined enough to reduce the deficit, I mean if they flipped the country upside down from the seams of its pockets to find the loose change needed, they would find it. I mean isn’t it worth a try to look for other solutions given that this is our 3rd price hike this year alone?!

Price increases are as follows:

12, 17.5 and 20 percent respectively depending on the fuel grade while home heating oil jumped by 43 percent, cooking gas prices went up 14 percent and kerosene by 43 percent.

But everyone in the government I guess smokes and no one wants to pay more for cigarettes. And as for alcohol and corruption, well apply the same logic and use your imagination.

But hey, what do I know. Just a citizen’s humble opinion.

Once again Emad Hajjaj knows what he’s talking about. The ghost of poverty will be visiting a whole lot of people in the weeks to come…

Check out fellow Jordanian blogger Khalaf’s post on the topic
Also an article on how Jordanâ??s fuel hike may lead to recession.

Your Two Piasters: