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MP bids to cancel water, power price hikes

KUWAIT CITY, Jan 3: MP Riyadh Al-Adsani has unveiled his plan to present a bill canceling the decision to increase electricity and water charges. Warning that the increase, even if it does not cover private houses, will affect citizens negatively; Al-Adsani pointed out in a press statement that the increase reached more than 1,200 percent in a certain sector while the companies affected by this decision will dodge it through the ordinary citizens who will suffer the brunt of such a move.

He added that before increasing the electricity and water bills, the government should first look into documented reports stating there is no problem in reducing the maintenance cost for power stations in spite of the establishment of Al-Zour Power Station. He also urged the government to reduce its expenses rather than increasing electricity and water charges.

He said the government buys electricity from Al-Zour Plant for KD 26 million as per the contract it signed and the State gets KD 138,000 as rent for the public land where the station is located. He criticized the economic reform document; citing the cost of maintaining power plants in Al-Zour, Shuwaikh, Subiya, Doha and Shuaiba. He added increasing electricity and water charges in industrial, commercial and agricultural sectors will have a negative impact on citizens because this will affect prices in cooperative societies and supermarkets considering traders will raise the prices of their goods as well. He reiterated that he will soon present a bill to cancel the approved increase in electricity and water charges, urging the government to propose a reasonable increase instead of 1,200 percent.

He attributed the budget deficit, which the government is talking about, to the failure to address wastage through diversification of sources of income and strengthening the role of the private sector. He said the government has opted to address the issue through citizens considering the increase in electricity, water and fuel prices as well as the plan to impose value added tax (VAT). Underscoring the need for the government to address wastage in the public sector, he said the Foreign Affairs Ministry alone spends around KD 369 million to KD 500 million. He added documented reports have shown that government agencies are consuming a large percentage of fuel and electricity subsidies. He asserted, “Some people claimed that exempting private houses from the increase in water and electricity charges is aimed at protecting citizens. This is not true because the citizens are the first victims of price hikes due to lack of control by the Ministry of Commerce and other concerned authorities.”

He argued the economic situation will improve only by breaking monopoly and activating the role of the private sector. Meanwhile, Youth and Sports Committee Chairman MP Sadoun Hammad Al-Otaibi disclosed they met the minister of information and youth affairs and his team who talked about steps taken to lift the suspension on local sports and correspondence with international organizations in this regard. He added another meeting will be held on Jan 5, 2017 in the presence of experts in the sports sector. On the other hand, the minister promised to submit the government’s sports draft law to the National Assembly on Wednesday Rapporteur of the committee MP Ahmed Nabil Al-Fadel clarified they did not give any advice about lifting suspension on local sports since the government is already working on this. He added the letter of the Olympic Committee, which included three demands, is not included in their agenda; particularly the reinstatement of unions and clubs.

By Abubakar A. Ibrahim Arab Times Staff

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