Electricity and water subsidy program covers 80,000 Omani households

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An estimated 80,000 Omani households are currently eligible to receive cash assistance under the National Subsidy Scheme (NSS) set up by the government to help mitigate the impact of subsidy reform in the water sector. electricity and water of the country.

The NSS programme, previously designed to mitigate the impact of rising fuel prices on economically vulnerable citizens, was expanded in 2021 to include households facing higher electricity and water bills as a result of the government’s decision to cut subsidies on most public services.

Subsidy reform is a key objective of the medium-term balanced budget program adopted by the government in 2020 to help curb widening annual budget deficits and soaring public debt at the time.

According to the Public Services Regulatory Authority (APSR), electricity and water subsidies should be gradually reduced over a period of 10 years.

Explaining the decision, the regulator said: “The government of the Sultanate of Oman has approved the subsidy reform program for the electricity and water sectors. The revised tariffs were approved in line with other countries that changed subsidy mechanisms. The previous mechanism was provided to all customer groups, while the revision focuses on targeted groups in society. The (subsidy) is expected to be phased out from January 2021 until 2031.”

The reform strategy, the Authority noted in its recently released 2021 Annual Report, aims, among other things, to improve the social safety net system in the country. Other objectives are: to achieve financial sustainability, to promote a culture of rational consumption and to increase the efficiency of public expenditure, and to encourage the use of other energy alternatives such as solar energy, to reduce dependence on gas and mitigate pollution.

By the end of 2021, as many as 79,966 economically vulnerable Omani households were benefiting from the subsidy for the electricity and water sectors, according to the report.

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