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Minister weighs increase in tariffs of power, water usage ‘Panel formed by Cabinet to review subsidy structure’

KUWAIT CITY, June 20: Minister of Electricity and Water Eng. Abdulaziz Al- Ibrahim has revealed the possibility of increasing tariffs of electricity and water consumption in a number of sectors including the industrial sector, provided it does not lead to hike in the prices of commodities, reports Annahar daily.

He said the ministry will consider a new tariff plan with minimum charges compared to other GCC countries with similar industries and similar standard of living.

In response to a query submitted by MP Adel Al-Kharafi regarding the ministry’s intention to cancel subsidies for commercial and investment sectors in the country, the minister said a committee headed by the Undersecretary of Finance Ministry has been formed by the Cabinet to review the subsidy structure of the country while the Ministry of Electricity and Water will submit its proposal on the tariffs.

Al-Ibrahim explained that the ministry will consider the feedback and suggestions of the committee members to formulate an appropriate tariff plan for achieving the desired goals.

He insisted on the necessity to modify the tariff structure of electricity and water, which has not changed since 1966 along with the hike in costs particularly of fuel. He said the increasing rates of energy and water consumption has become a burden on the state budget as the subsidy value in this domain reached about KD 2,880 million in 2012-2013 and is expected to increase up to KD 6,700 million by year 2030. He added that the proposal to increase tariffs is also aimed to encourage consumers to preserve their consumption of electricity and water.

Meanwhile, the Assistant Undersecretary for Consumer Affairs at Ministry of Electricity and Water Abdullah Al-Hajri declared that the ministry has collected about KD 403 million as electricity and water consumption revenues over the past two years, reports Al-Seyassah daily.

He indicated that the Consumer Affairs Sector is working on implementing new mechanisms for collecting dues such as by inaugurating more offices of consumer affairs in various areas of the country. He explained that the MEW Minister Eng. Abdulaziz Al-Ibrahim and Undersecretary Eng. Ahmad Al- Jassar are closely monitoring the performance of the sector and have issued strict instructions to provide exceptional service to the citizens and expatriates of Kuwait and help them settle their dues easily. In a press statement, Al-Hajri urged all consumers to preserve consumption of electricity and water during the summer season to reduce related expenditures for themselves as well as for the country because the latter uses oil as fuel to produce energy for the consumers. In the meantime, MP Nabeel Al- Fadhel has submitted a draft law for amending Article 15 of Decree 15/1979 related to civil service, reports Al-Shahed daily.

According to the draft law, the duration for occupancy of leading positions is four years and renewable with the approval of the concerned minister. However, if the concerned official submits a request within 90 days to be dismissed from the position, the minister can reduce this duration of service.

The service period will automatically end after four years unless the minister demands renewal of the service of the concerned official in the same position. In case the minister intends to appoint another official in that position, the curricula vitae of three nominees must be submitted to the Ministers Council for selecting the most qualified among them. The recruitments for leading positions and replacements must be carried out with the approval of the concerned minister and the Ministers Council.

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