After many sessions since the government started suggesting increasing the prices of petrol and water for the nation and took it to the parliament for debate of course due to the drop in the price of oil – this is what the great parliament came out with yesterday.
The question of lifting subsidies was justified due to collapsing oil prices, with Kuwaiti crude hitting a low of around $20, but very recently we’ve seen prices rise as high as $36, and there is lots optimism that oil prices will recover. On the other hand, Kuwait does not have a deficit if you include all of its revenue streams. So the big drama that the government is making by increasing prices, cutting budgets, tightening belts, or whatever you call it, is not totally based on real numbers.
These are the government’s justification which was to be considered by the parliament. Unfortunately it was sad to see the parliament’s verdict on the issue yesterday. It approved increased electricity and water charges for businesses and expats.
This is impossible for businesses. It’s illogical to increase any price more than 100 percent. As you can see, it used to be 2 fils per kilowatt and now it will be 25 fils per kilowatt for businesses. And for flats rented by expats, tariffs will jump from 2 fils per kilowatt to 15 fils per kilowatt. Kuwaitis living in apartments and in residential areas will be exempted.
Why the discrimination in the nation? We are all living under the same roof. I’m lucky I’m Kuwaiti and this will not affect me, but in all fairness, it’s not just and not Islamic at all to treat people who are living with us in the same country in the same conditions in this apartheid manner.
This is completely wrong and I hope the honorable gentlemen in the parliament will reconsider. I know they plan to have one more reading in two weeks to finalize this harsh verdict on businesses and expats. Kuwait has always been known as the freest and fairest nation in the Middle East. Don’t ruin its reputation. Hopefully, in two weeks’ time, we will hear more fair and reasonable ideas that abide by the laws of our religion and our humanity.
By Badrya Darwish