Session to discuss utility rates

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It is essential to work out transparent, objective and realistic utility rates, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said at the session held on 14 March to discuss utility rates for the population.

“Today’s session should be the last one on the way to working out clear-cut, normal, transparent and fair utility rates,” the head of state said.

The President reminded that he had given an instruction to objectively and reasonably recalculate utility rates if necessary. “The main objective for us was not to reduce utility rates after some miscalculations as they are now saying in the mass media. Yes, we will reduce them where necessary, and we have reduced them. But it is not the main thing. The main tasks are to work out objective rates which will be clear for the population and to approve them at the President’s level,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.

“Then a person will see the cost of one cubic meter of water and will know how many cubic meters of water he used, he will multiply these figures and see the result,” the President noted.

“Therefore, it is needed to mention the cost of the service. If people want to know the exact volume of water, gas and heat they consume, they should install meters. If there are no meters, there should be different methods. But there should be real prices for these services, real rates,” the head of state believes.

“Responsible people and the State Control Committee should have calculated these utility rates by now. I want to be informed about these rates today, then I want this information to be made available for the population. We are doing all this to inform people about the exact price for each service,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

“I want to warn those specialists who made the calculations. If we find out that you did not pay enough attention to my instruction and submitted unjustified figures for approval, you will be held accountable,” the head of state said.

“I want to be informed about the fulfillment of my instruction to hold accountable those who falsified figures, used deceitful methods and stole money from the budget. I have given an instruction to open criminal cases and punish the guilty,” the President noted.

“We are saying that someday Belarusian people will pay full cost of these services. Just let us not say that it will happen in 2018. I never said so. This may happen in 2020, or in 2025, and will depend on people’s financial standing,” the head of state noted.

“People need to have money to pay the price we will set for them. It is unclear if this will happen in 2018, 2020 or 2025. Let us wait and see,” the President said.

“There are no untouchable people in the country. All people should bear responsibility for what they do,” Aleksandr Lukashenko added.

The President noted that there are plans to reconsider electricity tariffs in the future. “The manufacturing sector and population bear the burden of electricity costs,” the head of state said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko wanted to be informed about the ways of formation of the prime cost of all services. As a result, the head of state approved of the approaches envisaged in the draft decree regarding the utility rates and gave an instruction to specify all details concerning these rates in the decree. An instruction was given to provide comprehensible utility bills to the population. “We will try to simplify utility bills,” Alexander Terekhov added.

It is expected that the draft decree will be signed in the near future.