Nearly four in five young Arabs (78 percent) think their governments should continue to subsidise the cost of energy, according to new research. The latest Arab Youth Survey, published by Asdaa Burson-Marsteller, showed that just under half (49 percent) of respondents thought that if their government were to stop subsidising energy costs, subsidies should remain in place for local nationals and not expats.
However, two in three young Arabs (66 percent) also said they were concerned about low oil prices, with this figure rising to 80 percent in the Gulf. The research may be of some concern to governments in the Gulf, which have steadily been rolling back subsidies on electricity, water and fuel as the impact of the low oil price hits government budgets.
More than 90 percent of those questioned by the survey in Qatar, Oman and Bahrain said they thought subsidies should continue, while the figure for Saudi Arabia was 86 percent.
Last year, the UAE was the first to announce that it was removing the government subsidy on fuel, a move which has been followed by a partial removal of subsidies on utility bills in Abu Dhabi. Likewise, Saudi Arabia has also raised the price of petrol by 66 percent and increased utility bills in the kingdom, a move that has resulted in a number of complaints to the Ministry of Water and Electricity.
Oman and Bahrain are taking similar steps, while subsidy removal is currently the subject of heated discussion in the Kuwaiti parliament. Qatar increased electricity and water tariffs in November last year, and fuel prices in January.
Source: Arabian Business