Government blackmail with a new taste

تم نشره في Wed 10 December / Dec 2014. 08:04 PM

By Jumana Ghunaimat

Again, the government has resorted to blackmail to pass their agendas, this time it relates to the purchase of the Israeli gas and the need to proceed with signing the agreement with Energy, to get a safe and cheap source of energy, according to government claims.

The day before yesterday specifically from Abdali, headquarters of the Lower House, the government placed severe alternatives on the table of the people and the deputies if they refuse to buy gas from the enemy.

The alternatives were raising electricity prices or resort to the regular interruptions in the power supply, if Jordan did not give in and surrender to the agreement.

This method is not new to the government of Dr. Abdullah Ensour, and it is not the first time this government resorted to twisting the arm of Jordanians to pass unpopular laws; before, the government said that the alternative to not liberalizing fuel prices is the fall of the dinar, even if what they said was not accurate.

The options set by the government say to the deputies implicitly that if they do not agree on the Israeli gas, they are partners in the electricity tariff increase.

Government alternatives or "punishments for refusing the Israeli gas" should not pass without debate, not to discourage it because it usually does not listen.

In principle the government knows that presenting the gas agreement to the Lower House is unthinkable and directives of the House are not binding unless the parliament decides to withdraw its confidence in the government, since the agreement is purely commercial, not a franchise agreement that has to be presented to parliament as per the constitution.

The government — according to Minister of Energy Dr. Mohammed Hamid, who presented "the defense list" for the purchase of Israeli gas — says it will be forced to raise the price of electricity; can the government tell us when did it decide not to do that when it has been planned for years now as per its solution to deal with the increasing debt of the National Electricity and Power Company 2013-2017?

Everyone knows that, that would have been unthinkable even as oil prices fell by more than 30%, that the government would keep the tariff without an increase, in response to the reform program with the International Monetary Fund.

Resorting to regular cuts is not linked to the price of the final kW, but the government's ability to manage the electricity generation sector, which suffers from many defects because of the government’s mismanagement; one time it says it will tender the renewable energy projects to local companies on three stages and then reverse that because one Arab investor said he will provide 1,000 MW, instead of all the local companies combined, only to discover later that the investor backtracked on implementing the project.

Based on the words of the minister, the gas port will be completed mid next year, and can import natural gas from the world market, then the government will be able to import liquefied natural gas by ships through the port of Aqaba; where the government has hired a steamer for this purpose since 2013 and pays some 40 million annually for it, and the minister himself says that it was agreed with Shell for the supply of 150 million cubic feet per day and this amount can be increased through other agreements.

What the minister did not talk about is the production of energy from oil shale and nuclear reactors, perhaps to avoid the parliamentary debate on the subject, which is enough to ensure the provision of cheap energy and achieve sustainable development.

The long and detailed speech made by the minister (I recommend reading it) reiterated that the government is going ahead based on the principle of diversifying the energy mix.

No one knows why the insistence on the Israeli gas; the words of the minister himself deny the need for Israeli gas because the alternatives that he digressed in explaining makes us not need the occupier’s gas.

After all this, the minister says again that the solution is the Israeli gas, like someone who contradicts himself and uses all means to achieve an end; only difference is that he plays giving the people a choice between their convictions and their life interests.

The government needs to remember that the government blackmail will be small compared to the Israeli blackmail in the future.



This article is an edited translation from the Arabic edition