MP Ahmad Lari, rapporteur of the priorities committee, said yesterday that the implementation of the new electricity charges will start in the middle of 2017 after approval by the Assembly. Lari said that for private houses, a term used for citizens, the implementation is not expected before 2018. He said the government’s plan stipulates to start the hikes with investment and commercial housing, a sector that includes apartments where the overwhelming majority of foreigners live.
The government is expected to bring its final proposal for the raises to the Assembly’s financial and economic affairs committee today and the panel is expected to reject the government plan, Lari said. But the issue as a whole is listed on the agenda of the April 12 regular Assembly session after the grilling of the Commerce and Industry Ministry Yousef Al-Ali by MPs Ahmad Al-Qudhaibi and Mubarak Al-Harees on decisions allegedly violating the law.
During the session, the Assembly is also due to discuss the government’s economic reform program, besides a number of other issues. MPs have strongly opposed a government bill to increase electricity and water charges on citizens and expatriates. They also vowed not to allow the government to harm low and middle income people.
The government has proposed a price of 5 fils for the first 3,000 kilowatts, which rises gradually to 15 fils above 9,000 kW. But MPs have proposed that consumption under 6,000 kW to remain at the current price of 2 fils per kilowatt and 5 fils for consumption above this. For apartments, the government proposed 5 fils per kilowatts for up to 1,000 kW, 10 fils for 1,000 to 2,000 kW and 15 fils for above that. MPs have not requested any reduction for this tariff.