KUWAIT CITY, May 22: The countdown to implementation of new electricity and water tariffs has begun following its publishing in the 1289 edition of Kuwait Official Gazette, whereas prices of some commodities have been soaring for almost two weeks before Ramadan.
The country is in a panicky state with the anticipation that Kuwait may soon witness unprecedented hike in prices due to the policy of removing subsidies and announcement to increase prices of fuel. Article 6 of Law number 20/2016 related to electricity and water tariffs — as published in the Gazette, and considered the most important aspect stipulates implementation of the law gradually (stage by stage) one year after its publication.
The tariffs will be implemented one year later beginning with the commercial sector, followed by investment sector (after one year and three months), government sector (after one year and six months). It will be implemented in the industrial and agricultural sectors one year and nine months after its publishing in the gazette.
The law has set the monthly electricity tariff in the investment sector at 5 fils from 1-1000 kilowatts per month, 10 fils from 1001-2000 kilowatts per month and 15 fils from 2000 kilowatts upward. Meanwhile, close onlookers and economy experts have warned that Kuwait may witness skyrocketing prices of commodities and essential products as Ramadan is fast approaching.
They premised their viewpoint on the perception that oil subsidy will be removed at any moment. Many of them believed that flashes of the hike have been manifesting within the past few days as prices of some commodities went up sharply. MP Jamal Al-Omar affirmed that government is completely responsible for the scenario. He said the Minister of Commerce and Industry Dr Yousef Al-Ali is at the forefront of issues and should realize that the problem can lead to sacking of the entire cabinet rather than single out any of them.
He urged the government to double efforts in facing the challenge of artificial prices hike, saying media statements without complementary actions are useless. He added, “Citizens and expatriates have the right to panic since traders are targeting their pockets, especially that the proposed raise in prices of fuel and electricity tariff coincide with the fast-approaching Ramadan.
The government should strive hard to nip this in the bud by taking necessary legal procedures against anybody found guilty of artificial prices hike.” In his comment, MP Mohammad Al-Jabri urged government to avoid the dereliction of its duties to maintain moderate prices of commodities. He assured the National Assembly will not hesitate to use constitutional tools if it is confirmed that government is slacking in its responsibilities. He continued the lawmakers will not fold arms and watch traders drain the pockets of consumers. “I urge the Minister of Commerce and Industry to be more proactive in his duties, especially in the same manner in which he froze prices hike without recourse to the ministry. We hope the decision will favor citizens,” the lawmaker said.
By Raed Yousef and Abdul-Rahman Al-Shammari Al-Seyassah Staff