The World Food Programme (WFP) recently increased the amount of financial assistance it provides to Syrian refugees in Jordan to offset a government sales tax hike and the removal of a bread subsidy.
"Increasing the aid to Syrian refugees came after a study on the extent to which they were affected by the recent government decision," said WFP donor and private sector relations/communications officer Faten Hindi.
The increase, which went into effect in April, aims to alleviate pressure on "refugees living outside the camps, as they constitute the vast majority of Syrian refugees in Jordan", she told Al-Mashareq.
"Every Syrian refugee classified as vulnerable will receive 15 Jordanian dinars ($21) per month allocated for the purchase of food," Hindi said, with refugees classified as most vulnerable receiving 23 dinars ($32) per month.
About 400,000 Syrian refugees will benefit from this aid, she said, adding that a study will be conducted on increasing aid to Syrian refugees living in the camps.
Rise in price of bread
Earlier this year, the Jordanian government lifted a subsidy on bread, which led to a 60% rise in the price, economist Hossam Ayesh told Al-Mashareq.
"Citizens who work and have jobs felt the pressure after the recent increases and increase in the sales taxes," he said.
The increase in food aid will help Syrian refugees and ease the pressure on Jordan, which is hosting roughly 1.3 million Syrian refugees, he added.
Last year, he noted, Jordan received less than 70% of what it requires to support the Syrian refugees.
"Although the increase [in aid] is modest, it is necessary to help the refugees bear the economic burden caused by the increase in the prices of basic commodities," Ayesh said.
Any additional aid will be spent in local markets on food purchases, and this will in turn help stimulate the economy, he added.
Many refugees rely on aid
"The increase in aid is an important and humanitarian [step], especially as many refugees do not work and rely mainly on aid," said Shakir al-Taweel, a refugee from the Syrian city of Homs who lives in Amman with his family.
"I work at a restaurant in the Jabal al-Hussein area and earn 200 dinars ($282) a month," he told Al-Mashareq, noting that he struggles to buy food for his children.
Prices in Jordan are "very high, and we are beginning to feel the pinch of the increase in the prices of bread, vegetables and many food items", he said.
The government imposed a 10% sales tax on produce this year, along with other tax increases, as directed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
These measures aim to gradually reduce the kingdom's public debt and restore momentum to the economy, which has been hit hard by regional conflicts and by the closure of the borders with Syria and Iraq.