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Campaign to help thousands of needy families pay for gas cylinders

By Mohammad Ghazal - Dec 16,2012 - Last updated at Dec 16,2012

AMMAN — A network of volunteer initiatives launched a campaign on Sunday to provide needy families with coupons to help them cover the 54 per cent increase in the cost of gas cylinders after the government lifted fuel subsidies last month.

The campaign seeks to strengthen solidarity among Jordanians and help the needy families across the country, according to Mohammad Jaber, a representative of the Voluntary Initiatives Network, an umbrella for the 23 participating groups that include about 20,000 young volunteers.

“The campaign seeks to help about 283,000 families across Jordan who were negatively affected by the recent hike in prices,” Jaber said at a press conference on Sunday, noting that the rise in gas cylinder prices from JD6.5 to JD10 has been especially difficult due to its timing, as many families rely on gas heaters to keep warm during winter.

The campaign is implemented in partnership with the Jordan Petroleum Refinery Company (JPRC) and the Gas Station Owners Association (GSOA), and the network will coordinate with the General Union of Charitable Organisations to distribute the donations to the needy families.

Those wishing to donate can transfer money into bank account number 504255 at the Jordan Ahli Bank or call 0796123558 or 0787799961 and arrange for volunteers to collect their cash donations.

Boxes will also be placed at malls and universities to collect donations.

The cash donations will be exchanged for coupons worth JD3.5 apiece — the difference in the price of a gas cylinder before and after the price hike — which will be distributed to needy families, Jaber said.

“We will study the conditions of families in need and provide them with coupons according to their needs of gas cylinders,” he said.

Recipients can use the coupons just like cash at any of the country’s 952 gas depots, which have been informed about the campaign, GSOA President Fahed Fayez said during Sunday’s press conference.

“At the end of the day [the gas distributors] can exchange the coupons for cash or buy gas with them from the main gas distribution stations in Jordan,” Fayez added.

JPRC representative Hasan Sbieh said the company would issue the coupons and ensure that they cannot be forged.

The JPRC has developed software to process the coupons and to ensure that the procedure is easy and convenient for the beneficiaries and gas distributors who will collect the coupons, Sbieh told reporters.

Fayez said the recent rise in prices of fuel products, especially gas cylinders, had worsened the financial conditions of many families.

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