Hike in commercial water rate is unjust, Pringle says, given the tax increases that businesses are already paying

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room

REAL NEWS: With businesses expected to pay more for water as of next week,Leader of the Opposition Jamale Pringle says the rate increase isunjust, given that the commodity is not received on any regularbasis.

Commencing April 1, 2024, the rate for the commercial sectormoves from 50 per thousand gallons to 60 per thousand gallons;cruise port moves from 50 per thousand gallons to 75; while bulksales move from 50 to 60 per thousand gallons.

As justification, the Water Business Unit of the Antigua PublicUtilities Authority (APUA) has said that the current water rates havebeen maintained for more than three decades.

Therefore, as the Authority continues to expand its network andupdate its aged infrastructure, APUA says it has becomeindispensable to adjust its billing rates to offset production,distribution, operating and capital costs.

However, Pringle says this hike is unconscionable, as businesses arenow paying a plethora of tax increases, including the 2 percent onthe Antigua and Barbuda Sales Tax (ABST).

He says the Government first needs to improve its delivery to ensurethat water is received on a 24-hour basis before putting a greaterburden on consumers.

With the amount of money already spent on trying to resolve thewater problem, citizens and residents should have daily pipe-bornewater, the Opposition leader believes.

Now, the Government is entering into agreements with a privateAmerican company and the Government of Japan in an effort toaddress the problem –even though there are many Reverse Osmosis Plants across thecountry.

Commenting on this, Pringle says the Browne Administration shouldallow another party to take the reins of office, as it has been unableto put proper mechanisms in place to handle the water crisis.

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