By JT – Jan 26,2016
AMMAN — MP Rula Hroub on Tuesday questioned the government on raising a fixed charge included in the water bill by nearly 100 per cent, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

At a Lower House oversight session, Hroub (Stronger Jordan list) said that she was not convinced by the government’s response and decided to withdraw her confidence in Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour.

But she later ended the questioning after other MPs raised the issue of whether it is constitutional or not to question Ensour rather than the concerned minister.

Some lawmakers said the House can hold one minister or more responsible for their actions but not the premier, while others considered questioning the prime minister a constitutional right and a basic part of the supervisory role of the House over members of the executive authority.

Ensour said questioning the government for not consulting with the House in the decision is unconstitutional, noting that the Lower House does not have the right to intervene in the water pricing decision but can only supervise and withdraw confidence.

He said the government takes the responsibility for decisions to increase prices and not the House, which previously decided not to intervene when asked to set prices of oil derivatives.

Ensour added that the Constitution differentiates between the premier and the ministers, stressing that Hroub’s decision to withdraw confidence in the prime minister is unconstitutional.

The MP had charged that the decision to raise the fixed charge in the water bill lacks transparency because it was not published in the Official Gazette, Petra reported.

Water subscribers in the Kingdom receive bills on a quarterly basis.

Households consuming between zero to 18 cubic metres per three months, which originally had to pay a fixed charge of JD2.43 in addition to the bill, are now charged an extra JD2.

Subscribers consuming between 19 cubic metres and 72 cubic metres, who used to pay between JD4.80 and JD5.73, now have to pay an additional JD4.

The fixed charge in the water bill went up by JD6 for households that consume over 73 cubic metres, making it JD11.73 after the raise.
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