The life of the working class in Bahrain may become miserable as the expat residents of an average two-room flat will have to pay BD113.9 per month as electricity and water bills by 2019.
According to the new tariffs applicable after the lifting of subsidies, by 2019, the increase in the electricity and water bills of a small flat will be BD72 and BD41.9 respectively, totalling BD113.9.
Speaking to DT News, Pakistani expat Mian Murtaza said it was a ‘shocking’ move. He said the labourers were upset as this might force them to sleep on the roads.
“There is no future for labourers in this country. With the meagre payment we get, and with no chance of an increment, how will we pay the amount?” he lamented.
Economist Salahuddin Bhinder commented that small expat families would not be able to cope with this situation. “They will be compelled to send their families back. And the labour class will try to move to other countries,” he said.
He added that the government must look into these side effects of the decision immediately. “Expats contribute reasonably to Bahrain’s economy, and so the Kingdom will be in a far difficult situation if they start moving out.”
“Another important fact to be considered is that after the increase of electricity tariffs, everything will become expensive,” he pointed out.
“When earning power is reduced, people stop buying. No buying, no production. No production, no investment – end result is no business activity,” he explained.
He said that the lifting of meat subsidies had resulted in the fall of meat market and the effects of removing the electricity and water subsidies would be even more adverse.
Taking average electricity consumption for a flat to be 3,600 units, power would cost you BD32.4 at the current tariff.
According to the new tariffs from March this year, the electricity bill will be increased to BD46.8 (3600units x 13fils). Next year it will be BD64.8 (at 18 fils/unit), and in 2018 it will be BD82.8 (@ 23 fils /unit). In 2019, this would become BD104.4 (at 29 fils/unit). This means electricity tariff will triple compared to the current tariff, over the duration.
Similarly taking the case of water, currently the average tariff for a two room flat is BD5 (@80 fils /unit) with the average consumption of 62.5 units. From March it will be increased to BD12.5 (200 fils/unit).
In 2017 it will be increased to BD18.8 (300fils/unit) and in 2018 it will be BD31.3 (@500 fils/unit), while in 2019 it will be BD46.9 (@750 fils/unit).
This means water bill would rise by 10 times.