Bahrain govt rules out power subsidy cuts
Manama, December 22, 2010
Bahrain's government has no plans to stop subsidising electricity and water rates, Electricity and Water Affairs Minister Fahmi Al Jowder told our sister newspaper Gulf Daily News (GDN).
He said that despite a huge budget shortage in the Electricity and Water Authority, which had delayed many needed projects, other sources of income were being sought.
Al Jowder was speaking on the sidelines of an address by His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa to the National Assembly on government plans for the next four years.
He said that the authority was trying to collect backdated payments pending from consumers that have reached BD117 million over the years.
Al Jowder said that the new 24-month instalments policy had helped in repayment, but it was still up to customers to be sincere in repaying what they owe.
'We currently have no plans to end subsidised rates despite a huge budget shortage that is crippling us from carrying out important projects,' said Al Jowder.
'Other sources of income have to be sought and this will be determined through studies currently being carried out by the authority.
'We have also privatised power production and there are plans to privatise distribution, but they are not in our immediate agenda.'
Al Jowder said that Bahrain was planning to adopt nuclear energy as a source of power by 2017 alongside other GCC countries.
'It will be some time before we can adopt nuclear sources here in Bahrain as experts have to be brought in, designs prepared and facilities built, but our plan is to have it by 2017,' he said.
'The UAE is the closest to have this energy as a source and from what I have seen they are ready to adopt it within the next few years.'-TradeArabia News Service