Jordan has started disbursing the second installment of the energy cash handout to eligible citizens, Minister of Finance Umayya Tuqan announced on 7 April. After lifting most energy subsidies last November, the government decided to compensate low income Jordanians by making a transfer payment of JD70 ($99) per person per year to a maximum of six people per family (JD420 - $592) whose total yearly income does not exceed JD10,000 ($14,100). The first installment of the handout was paid at the beginning of the year. The total transfer payments to be made at four-month intervals will cost the government around JD300mn ($423mn) annually (MEES, 22 February). In 2012 the subsidy for petroleum products was estimated at JD800mn ($1,128mn). Until early 2011, Jordan depended on the Egyptian gas supplied by the Arab Gas Pipeline (AGP) to generate up to 80% of its electricity needs. But since then, supplies have been erratic because of frequent sabotage of the pipeline, forcing Jordan to import more expensive fuel oil/diesel oil.

Jordan’s National Electric Power Company (NEPCO) could incur a loss of JD1,400mn ($1,974mn) in the current year if the supply of Egyptian gas remains at its present level of around 100mn cfd and the electricity tariff is not adjusted, the company’s Managing Director, Ghalib al-Ma’ayira, warned last week. He went on to note that current gas supply was less than the 250mn cfd stipulated in the revised agreements between Jordan and Egypt reached last December. In 2012 Egyptian gas supply to Jordan fell to an average of 40mn cfd. While Jordanian officials complain that they are not getting sufficient quantities of Egyptian natural gas, Egypt maintains that its supply to Jordan is continuing at the same rate as in the past three months. Last month the Egyptian ambassador to ‘Amman, Khalid Tharwat, denied a report that the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) has been instructed by the office of the Egyptian president to “gradually reduce the export of gas to Jordan over the next three months and cease all supplies by the end of June.” (CONTINUED - 534 WORDS)