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Jordan approves $824m social spending

Jordan approves $824m social spending

Social payment, food subsidiaries, and poverty aide are at the centre of Jordan's cabinet approved multi-million supplementary budget.

August 24, 2011 3:09 by

Jordan’s cabinet approved a supplementary budget, adding 584 million dinars ($824 million) to the kingdom’s 2011 spending plans to cover extra social payments and food subsidies to aid the country’s poor, its finance minister said on Tuesday.

Mohammad Abu Hammour told Reuters the additional sum beyond the 6.369 billion dinars ($8.98 billion) of allocated state spending was accrued expenditure to cover public sector pay hikes and a rise in food and energy subsidies.

“These extra sums will support food items and energy prices (affected by)…the global increase in oil prices, and freeze prices of gasoline in the local market,” Abu Hammour said.

At least $1.44 billion in foreign grants, which the kingdom received so far this year, would help cover the extra spending and help meet the 2011 budget deficit target of 1.160 billion dinars, or 5.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), Abu Hammour said.

“The (supplementary budget) is fully covered by extra foreign aid and does not include any increase in the 2011 estimated budget deficit,” Abu Hammour said.

Surging global wheat prices have raised the cost of bread subsidies while higher oil prices have increased subsidies on ordinary gasoline.

The country’s energy bill was projected to rise to $4.5 billion in 2011 from $3 billion last year, with higher costs for imported diesel to cover the country’s electricity needs after the disruption of Egyptian gas that provides most of its electricity generating capacity.

($1 = 0.709 dinar) (Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; Editing by John Stonestreet)

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