Turkmenistan scraps free water supplies, slaps backdated bills

By bne IntelliNews February 25, 2016

Turkmen authorities have taken its population by surprise as they have begun demanding payments for water supply services, which have been free since 2004, for 11 months of 2015, Turkmen news website habartm.org reported on February 24. The decision to cancel free water comes after the country scrapped the monthly allowance of 120 litres of petrol fuel per individual in 2014 and ended free gas supplies for the population in 2015.   

The Turkmen government is ridding the country of its generous welfare programmes because economic and budgetary troubles stemming from a slowdown in the exports of its hydrocarbons, which account for 90% of the country’s total exports, as falling oil prices are affecting the monetary value of the country’s natural gas and oil exports. The IMF projected the country’s exports of oil and gas to decrease to $13,954mn in 2015 from $18,535mn in 2014.

The authorities informed the population about the end of free water supplies in January without warning them about charging them for 11 months, according to the report. The rate for some households amounts TMT34 (€8.8) for 11 months, while others are being charged TMT37-39.

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