The Jordan Strategy Forum (JSF) has released a position paper on alternatives to increasing the electricity tariffs in Jordan, recommending three scenarios that, it said, "if adopted would boost the economic growth and reduce the Kingdom's imports of energy.”
In its 11-page report, made available to The Jordan Times on Wednesday, JSF said there are many out-of-the-box solutions to overcome the crisis caused by energy prices that would at the same time avoid increasing electricity prices and support economic growth.
The report said that the fluctuation of oil prices and Jordan’s dependency on unstable foreign energy resources (97 per cent in 2014) have directly impacted the electricity prices for both the public and private sectors.
According to JSF, the energy prices became a serious drain on the general budget, which led to increasing national debt. In 2014, the energy bill reached around JD4.48 billion, constituting nearly 17.3 per cent of the gross domestic product.
The National Electric Power Company’s (NEPCO) debt exceeded JD4.5 billion in that year due to electricity prices subsidies, said the report, adding the increase had impacted the private sector and increased the operating expenses for most of the companies in different sectors, which led to a decrease in the profits and feasibility of many projects, and resulted in closing some of these companies and laying their employees off.