Jordan raises salaries, pensions in face of public discontent

Ahram online, Friday 21 Jan 2011

The $283m plan to increase salaries of government staff and pensions was announced less than two weeks after a decision to fund a $169m plan to improve living conditions in the kingdom

Jordan goverment orders to increase employess salaries by $283 million.
Jordan government orders to increase employees salaries by $283 million. (Photo: Reuters)

Jordan announced on Thursday that its plans to spend $283m on raising salaries of government staff and increasing pensions of retired government employees and servicemen in the face of popular discontent, according to

This decision follows an additional funding plan of $169m aimed at improving living conditions announced nine days ago by Prime Minister Samir Rifai.

The new $283m plan will result in a monthly raise of $28, in a country where the minimum monthly wage stands at $211.

These new measures were taken after demonstration organized by the country’s Islamist opposition called for economic and political reforms. The opposition also demanded that $56.5m be spent to deal with rising prices, and agricultural and livestock projects.

"The government did not create the current economic problems," Rifai told MPs at a meeting convened to discuss soaring commodity prices. "They have accumulated thanks to an unprecedented budget deficit."

Of this year’s $8.8bn budget, the deficit is expected to be 5 per cent of gross domestic product – about $ 1.5bn.

In the capital Amman, some 25 per cent of the population now lives below the poverty line, while the seat of the desert kingdom continues to be one of the most expensive cities in the Arab world, according to several independent studies.

Meanwhile, official unemployment stands at about 14 per cent in a country of 6 million, of which 70 per cent are under the age of 30.

Over the weekend, thousands of Jordanians took to the streets to protest soaring prices and unemployment.

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