Jordan tries to avoid govt collapse by providing cash incentives to transport sector
Over the past two years, the Jordanian government hiked gasoline prices 16 times, triggering an outbreak of nationwide strikes
By News Desk - December 13 2022

Mercedes-Benz Taxi in Jordan in 2009. (Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The Jordanian Land Transport Regulatory Commission (LTRC) announced on 11 December that it reached an agreement with the general union of truck and car owners, to end their strike starting 12 December.

The agreement was the fruit of negotiations between the Ministry of Transport and union representatives, during which they discussed solutions that would not involve raising transportation fares for citizens.

Had an increase affected everyday users of the sector, the instability in the country would have gone beyond lorry and taxi drivers and affected all households.

The commission’s agreement stipulated “the increase of cash incentives for public transport employees, within the jurisdiction of the authority.”

The money will be paid monthly, for the upcoming three months only, with the possibility of renewal.

However, the strikes spread to several provinces on the ninth day of the nationwide protests, as these temporary solutions were not deemed satisfactory.

More than 200 taxi drivers blocked the Abdoun Corridor in Amman in the early hours of 13 December, announcing their participation in the strike.

The strikes reached Uber-like taxi services, transportation between provinces, and school bus services.

According to local reports, operations at Aqaba port were halted as a result, and all export operations were suspended for days last week.

Spokeswoman of LTRC, Ahla al-Washah, revealed to Turkish state media Anadolu Agency, that demands “include a reduction in fuel prices.”

She added that “we are trying to reach understandings to preserve and perpetuate this sector,” where the price of a liter of diesel hiked to $1.26, and gasoline from $1.29 to $1.64.

The sense of urgency to announce the agreement was triggered by the signature of seventeen Jordanian deputies, calling on Parliament Speaker Ahmed Al-Safadi to force the Bishr al-Khasawneh government to resign.

The Khasawneh government has been accused of being incapable of performing its duties to the country, and of failing to make the correct decisions in light of the public transport strike that has paralyzed the kingdom.

As a result, Safadi promised to explore quick solutions and stressed that the parliament is keen to cooperate with the government to fulfill its responsibility.

Similarly, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Local Administration, Tawfiq Krishan, affirmed that the government is ready to listen to the demands, and pleaded for further cooperation between authorities.

Krishan added that they are working on reducing taxes on certain petroleum products.

However, Journalist Ziad al-Rubai ridiculed the attempts to revive Khasawneh’s government, describing it as “one of the least popular with the lowest level of popular satisfaction.”

In his interview with Al-Araby, Rubai added that radical solutions are needed to end this crisis, including the resignation of the current administration.

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