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Tajikistan’s power tariffs hikes spark society’s discontent

March 13, 2012, 9:32 UTC+3

Bloggers are actively discussing the issue on Facebook

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DUSHANBE, March 13 (Itar-Tass) — Tajikistan’s authorities have announced they will raise electric power tariffs by 20 percent on the average as of April 1, spokesman for the state run electric power monopoly Barki Tojik, Nozirdzhon Edgori, said on Tuesday.

Tajikistan will increase electric power prices for consumers within the framework of the reform in the energy sector and in compliance with recommendations of the World Bank, with which the Tajik government signed a memorandum of cooperation in 2006.

Along with this the authorities’ decision taken amid the lack of alternative sources of power and fuel evoked protests and sparked discontent in the society.

The political council of the Islamic Revival Party of Tajikistan, the Central Asian republic’s second influential force after the ruling People’s Democratic Party, issued a statement demanding cancellation of the decree, “as this may exert a negative effect on living standards of people, who even without this find themselves in a difficult situation.”

The party underlined that “the pricing policy should be coordinated with people’s living standards.”

According to the United Nations, more than half of the 7.5 million population of Tajikistan lives below the poverty line. The minimal average monthly wage is slightly more 15 dollars.

Bloggers are actively discussing the issue on Facebook. The authorities allowed an access to the social network after a weeklong ban.

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