By Staff writer
Gov't approves removal of power subsidies for expats, large companies and Bahrainis with more than one household
Bahrain has approved the removal of subsidies for electricity and water in March this year, which will eventually see prices double for expats and large companies in the industrial sector.
The removal of subsidies will also apply to those Bahrainis with more than one household, but will not affect Bahraini households or small and medium businesses.
The changes, which are part of Bahrain's overhaul of the subsidy system in the country, will see prices gradually increase over a four-year period.
Energy Minister Dr Abdulhussain Mirza, during a press briefing, outlined details of the new charges: “The government has allocated BD350 million for last year and this year to subsidise electricity and water, which we believe is improperly directed to wealthy Bahrainis, expatriates, visitors, big commercial and industrial establishments and ministries and government bodies.”
“We have excessive usage with limited resources so increasing the rates will save our conservation programmes, and bring the prices in line with other rates in the GCC.
“Bahrain is the third lowest in household rates for electricity and water among the six GCC countries, second lowest in electricity rates for the industrial sector, second lowest electricity rates for the commercial sector, and the fourth lowest in water rates for non-household. Even with the increase in rates our standings remain the same, which means that with the increase we are maintaining our position as providers of cheaper services.”
Time to find out why half the population (ie. Expats) have been calling Bahrain home over the years.
It is a very good and positive step. We wish to expect further new changes which can push out expats.
Bahrain even after these increases will continue to have one of the lowest cost of living in the GCC. These changes are unlikely to lead to many expats leaving the country and should not be blown out of proportion.
The bigger problem however which this move does not address is that there are large number of persons and business in Bahrain who have not and continue not to pay their electricity bills as per the last parliament session I witnessed. The government in my opinion needs to make moves to either call and receive payments on the receivables or cut electricity to those who don't pay no matter who they are.