Bahrain considers sewage tax
The rates, which will be drawn up by the cabinet, will include fees for connecting establishments to the network, monthly drainage expenses, connection to treated water and its consumption and other services not yet determined
A new sewage tax could be introduced in Bahrain as the government seeks alternative ways to boost income in light of reduced oil revenues.
It would first be introduced for industrial and commercial establishments before a second-phase rollout to homes, although the National Assembly would have to approve the second part of the plan, reported GDN online.
Homes are currently exempt based on parliament’s amendments to the Sewage Law, but are expected to be included in coming years according to an agreement between parliament’s public utilities and environment affairs committee and the Works, Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Ministry.
The rates, which will be drawn up by the cabinet, will include fees for connecting establishments to the network, monthly drainage expenses, connection to treated water and its consumption and other services not yet determined.
Proposed amendments to the 2006 Sewage Law are due to be discussed by MPs on Tuesday.
“The government has spent around BD300m on sewage networks and drainage since 2000, with it expected to spend around BD75m to meet a surge in investments and urban expansion by 2030 without covering the cost,” said the committee’s report.
“The ministry concerned has been working to get costs covered and for that it has been working on new legislation in co-ordination with Legislative and Legal Opinion Commission and has made significant insertions to the 2006 Sewage Law.
“The amendments needed to reflect establishments’ obligation to get necessary licensing before using the sewage network or getting access to it, as well as determining the cost of the service.
“A stipulation has been added to exempt homeowners, with minimal fees set to be introduced in future whenever the National Assembly agrees to remove it as a second phase.”
MPs originally proposed a monthly charge of BD1 per household to the cabinet.
The new sewage tax has been proposed as Bahrain seeks to offset losses from cheaper oil, which accounts for at least 80 per cent of the country’s revenues.
The government is seeking to rein in spending, while the national debt ceiling has been raised from BD7 billion to BD10bn to allow for increased borrowing.
Other money-saving measures include the scrapping of meat subsidies from October 1.