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Jordan considering recipe for revolt: lifting bread subsidies

Jordan must decide whether to eliminate the government subsidy on bread to receive assistance from the International Monetary Fund.
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AMMAN, Jordan — Budget-cutters in Amman have bread subsidies in their crosshairs once again, as the government tries to satisfy the conditions of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreement designed to help the economically strapped kingdom. The subsidies have come under government fire numerous times over the years, with each episode sparking protests and riots. This time around, authorities are trying to justify their intentions by claiming that 3 million non-Jordanian residents benefit from subsidized bread, in addition to 7 million Jordanian citizens.

On a talk show that aired Oct. 28 on the Roya satellite channel, government spokesman Mohammad al-Moumani said, “A total of 140 million dinars [around $197 million] is spent to subsidize bread consumed by 3 million non-Jordanian residents.” He also alleged that some bread is wasted and some of it is smuggled into other countries to take advantage of the price difference.

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