Amman Chamber of Commerce President Haidar Murad warned on Saturday that an increase in electricity tariffs, due to take effect at the start of the new year, would prompt a rise in the prices of commodities and services in the local market. In a press release, Murad urged the government of Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour to rescind the move, and "not to raise electricity prices in the current circumstances," and instead look for other alternatives in consultation with the private sector while focusing on alternative energy sources and expediting energy projects. He said an electricity tariff hike would pose additional operational and financial costs for the commercial sector in view of the constantly soaring overhead costs and the levying of additional fees and taxes on many commodities and services during "a critical phase of a relative slump in national economic growth" and low demand for various goods and services The planned electricity tariff hike has also stoked alarm among other economic sectors. Chairman of the Association of small and medium industries, Fathi Jaghbir, warned that any such increase would have adverse consequences on the national industry as many factories were struggling to recover from previous hikes. "Many local industries have lost their ability to compete due to the rising energy prices in view of fierce competition and shrinking exports as a result of political turmoil in some regional countries", he said, noting that some 1,100 small and medium industrial facilities with a combined workforce of about 23,000 were shut down in 2013, exposing the perilous social consequences of such decisions.