Minister of Electricity and Water Ahmad Al-Jassar expressed his hope for closer agreement between the government and lawmakers regarding the government's proposal for streamlining the prices of electricity and water.
In a press statement following his meeting with the parliamentary committee on the economy and finance, Al-Jassar said the committee did not quite see eye-to-eye with the government's proposal on setting new prices for power and water provided to the public.
Emphasizing that the government was cognizant of the committee's concerns about the new prices, he nevertheless said that the government propounded to the committee the adverse effects the current prices would have on the economy if not changed.
He said unequivocally that the government proposal would not negate in any manner continued government subsidization of the prices of power and water, but the level of subsidization would be slightly trimmed. In fact, he stressed, government subsidization will pay 80 percent of the power bill for those households that fall in the limited income category, and will pay 65 percent for other households with high consumption levels.
"We are not only looking at what the citizen ends up paying for his power and water bills but also for what the government pays in subsidies to those bills," he said.
On whether the new prices will be enforced on people with homes by the year 2018, he said that possibility was currently under study and a decision about it will probably come out in the next parliamentary session.