Bread prices in Jordan have increased by as much as 60 percent, after the country’s government said a decision to end subsidies on the staple will take effect on Saturday.
The move, which is part of a drive to tackle the country’s budget woes, is the first of its kind in over two decades.
It comes 10 days after Jordan’s Cabinet announced a major package of IMF-guided tax hikes aimed at gradually lowering record public debt.
While many types of popular breads will not be affected by the cuts, the price of a kilo of white bread shot up by 60 percent from 0.40 dinars to 0.25. Other bread types increased in price by almost 50 percent.
The last time Jordan significantly raised bread prices, in 1996, protests broke out across the country against the move. The increase was ushered in by requirements for new credit set by the International Monetary Fund requirements.
This time, Jordan has implemented a mechanism to offset the impact on the poor by cash transfers.
Prime Minister Hani al-Mulki has argued that delaying the subsidy cut would further harm the country’s finances.
In an attempt to soften the blow, Al-Mulki’s office also tweeted out an infographic showing a comparison of bread prices across the Middle East.