Muscat: Government subsidies must be targeted at the poor instead of subsidising those who have no need of them, according to the Minister of Oil & Gas.
Currently, both high and low income individuals enjoy similar subsidies at a personal level from the government and according to the Minister, Mohammed Bin Hamad Al Rumhy, general subsidy cuts adversely affect the poor as they have a larger percentage of income and savings wiped out.
“General subsidy cuts are unfair to residents as they are harsh on people with less income levels,” he said. Citing his example, he mentioned that he himself is eligible for subsidies from the government that he doesn’t require.
GCC residents are presently the highest per capita energy users in the world and utilities such as electricity are heavily subsidized in the region. The Minister said that if the government must cut subsidies, it should be in the utilities sector, which is a cause of pollution and often misused.
“If there has to be a subsidy cut, it should be in the utilities sector such as electricity. If the person has a problem in paying for it, then he could share it with the government and it will be taken care of,” he said.
He added that removal of subsidies is the right way forward in these challenging times and would add to government revenues.