Gov’t will absorb increase in water & electricity rates – Pres. Ali
The cost for fuel has more than doubled internationally but President Dr. Irfaan Ali assured Guyanese that the government, not ordinary consumers, will absorb the increased cost for water and electricity.
The COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to a significant increase in the cost of commodities such as food and fuel; the ongoing Ukraine-Russia crisis has worsened the international price surge.
President Ali explained that when the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) and the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) – the country’s providers of water and electricity – prepared their annual budgets, the cost of fuel was pegged at about US $60 per barrel.
Now, however, the cost of fuel has surged to about US $125 – more than double the budgeted amount. And with the increased cost of fuel, the cost of treating water and producing electricity has increased also.
But President Ali said that the government is working to reduce the burden of the international price surges.
“Here in Guyana, the government is not going to allow that increase to translate to people.
“I said to both entities that you are not going to increase a cent (because) the government will take up the responsibility,” President Ali said on Tuesday at the commissioning of a water well at Lusignan on the East Coast of Demerara (ECD).
What this means, simply, is that customers will not see the price increases reflected in their monthly bills from the two utility companies.
A few days prior, Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo also said that the government would absorb the increased costs so that consumers would not have to pay exorbitant water and electricity rates until prices stabilise.
Meanwhile, at a recent press conference, President Ali noted that the government has already started to examine several solutions to cushion the impact of the price surge on producers and consumers.
Already, the government set aside a sum of $5 billion in the 2022 National Budget to fund interventions to cushion the rising food prices.
President Ali said that the government is yet to finalise how this sum will be used but hastened to add that consultations on the sum’s use have already started.
The government also announced moves to extend the freight cost adjustment in 2021 to the cost of some $6 billion in addition to reducing the price of fuel. These measures are already in effect. (Vishani Ragobeer)