Superb timing

Badrya Darwish

What superb timing! The government has decided to implement the increase in electricity and water tariffs. They made the decision and agreed on it last year, but its implementation will be on May 22, just four days before the start of Ramadan, when the whole nation – be it Kuwaiti or expat – will be busy shopping and stocking their kitchens for the cooking required during the holy month.

Even when they implemented the decision to raise the prices of petrol, they did it on September 1, while many Kuwaitis were still traveling out of the country. So this way, we wouldn’t feel the pinch immediately. As for petrol, it was at least an equal burden for all. Everyone in Kuwait who drives a car, be it Kuwaiti or Indian or Somali, has to pay the same price per liter.

This is fair – though I don’t find it fair to increase the price of petrol in an oil-producing country. If it happens somewhere else where the nation imports it, I could understand. But we are a major exporter, not just any exporter. But that’s life. The parliament took the decision and I cannot revoke it by myself.

But as for the hike in water and electricity, I find it unjust. Ridiculously unjust. You can actually call it discrimination. Why should I as a Kuwaiti be exempt, while living in a big private house – most of us thank God (Alhamdulillah) live in big houses with a garden or small yard. And our consumption is at least four to six times more than people living in flats.

Most expats – 90+ percent of them – reside in flats. Why should they pay more than us Kuwaitis? All of us are suffering from the same heat. The same summer. The same weather conditions. We are under the same sky and the same sun. Plus, Kuwaitis have better salaries and we enjoy more privileges at hospitals and clinics.

Apartheid is good for us. Imagine an expat living in a flat with an average salary. Let’s not take the average salary for an expat in the private sector, which according to the Central Statistics Bureau, is less than KD 300 per month. Let’s say the expat is earning KD 600 per month. He has to pay for rent, school tuition, food, residency, car, clothes, furniture, government paperwork, health insurance, etc. The government now wants him to pay more for electricity?

Average electricity bills will jump from KD 5 per month to KD 50 per month in the summer. And our summer, thank God, is very short – it’s only eight months a year! Please guys, have some mercy and at least exempt people during the three major months of summer: June, July and August. This is the least the government can exempt the expats from and it would be even better to do it with the advent of the holy month of Ramadan.

Have a nice Israa wal Miraj!

By Badrya Darwish

This article was published on 23/04/2017