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Proposed energy fees ‘too exaggerated’

KUWAIT: MP Dr Ahmad Mutee’ stressed that he would firmly reject the government’s project that include higher electricity tariffs, saying that the proposed fees are ‘too exaggerated.’ “Jumping to four folds of the current prices is unacceptable and will negatively affect citizens’ income,” he explained, urging the government to look for other ways to solve the budget deficit problem. Mutee’ added that the new electricity fees would cause price increases in various other fields, including real estate and rent values.

The Ministry of Electricity and Water (MEW) had stated Saturday that a monthly electricity and water bill would not exceed KD 70 ($232) on basis of government’s proposed tariff increase. Mashaan Al-Otaibi, MEW’s Assistant Undersecretary for Planning and Training, was brushing aside social media reporting what he called “exaggerated” tariffs if the proposed increase was implemented. These reports “are not true and were based on unrealistic assumptions of the monthly consumption,” he said in a statement. Otaibi said the proposed tariff increase aimed at cutting consumption of public, explaining that around 70 percent of citizens’ monthly bills were below KD 50. If the public decrease consumption by 70 percent, he said, the monthly bill would not exceed KD 70.

Development projects
Meanwhile, MP Dr Abdullah Al-Turaiji strongly criticized the government over the way it handled development projects and the contracts’ signed with various companies. He gave the oil pipes’ deal as an example, noting that it reflects how contradicting the government acted and how it yielded to pressure and blackmail. “What is the secret behind delaying the deal despite the fact that it meets all conditions,” Turaiji wondered, indicating that referring the project to the Fatwa and Legislation Department after the investor had lawfully won the deal implies a ‘profiteering attempt due to some pressure’. He also warned the Finance Minister and Acting Oil minister Anas Al-Saleh of yielding to pressure. Turaiji also criticized what he described as the silence of Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Sheikh Mohammed Al-Abdullah Al-SAbah over accusing the head of the Fatwa and Legislation Department of being biased. “Does this silence confirm the accusation?” he wondered.

Chairman of the parliament’s final statement and budgets committee MP Adnan Abdulsamad said that the committee discussed the budget of the public authority for Quran and prophet traditions and sciences for the year 2016-2017, and detected many violations and imbalances. Abdulsamad added that the authority was not cooperative.

By A Saleh

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