|Nha Be District residents in HCM City buy potable water at high prices. — Photo http://nld.com.vn
HCM CITY (VNS) — Plans to increase water tariffs in HCM City by 10.5 per cent annually in 2015-19 are part of a water supply master plan submitted recently to the city People's Committee for approval by related departments.
Poor households, migrants, students and those who have to rent houses will be supplied at lower prices, while the wholesale rate will be 10 per cent lower.
The price adjustment is aimed at making up for higher costs and mobilising more funds to develop the supply system and provide water to all households based on a master plan for up to 2025 approved by the Government.
The departments have calculated that the 10.5 per cent annual increase would impact the city's price index by only 0.088 per cent.
But Nguyen Thi Ngoc Hanh, a member of the city People's Council, objected to the proposal.
Sai Gon Giai Phong (Liberated Sai Gon) newspaper quoted her as saying, "Within 5 years water prices would go up by more than 50 per cent; that is too high."
She also said nothing had been done to reduce the very high rate of water leakage.
Tran Huu Tri, the District 12 Party Committee secretary, said that departments should not consider the water price hike in isolation but realise that petrol and electricity prices had also been increased in recent times.
Nguyen Van Lam, deputy head of the People's Council's Economy and State Budget Division, said, "The People's Committee and the Sai Gon Water Supply Corporation should reduce the proportion of water leakage first because the price of leaking water is also borne by local residents."
He also noted that the Government had only recently increased the prices of electricity and petrol, and a higher water price would cause difficulties for people.
The city's Fatherland Front has written to the People's Committee saying that any price increase should be accompanied by an improvement in quality, the price hikes should be reduced every year, the leakages must be reduced and domestic users must be asked to pay less then commercial users. — VNS