MOSCOW, July 2 (Itar-Tass) - Since July 1, the tariffs on the services in the housing and public utilities sector, excise duties on alcohol and tobacco products increased in Russia. The gas became more expensive than other tariffs by about 15%. The monthly payments for electric power, water, heating supplies and sewage services increased by six percent on average in the country. New, much higher fines for violations of several articles of the traffic rules will be introduced as well.
One of the most intricate steps of the election campaign of the newly elected Russian authorities was realized successfully, the Moskovsky Komsomolets daily reported. The idea to delay the traditional January growth of the prices on the public utility services until the middle of summer at the end of 2011 pleased many voters. But the X hour was getting closer inevitably, and already in the July utility bills the payments will be ten percent on average higher than a month before. By July 1 the excise duties on alcohol and cigarettes also went up that were planned to increase in winter.
The gas supplies became more expensive than all other tariffs going up about 15%. The payments for electric power, water and heating supplies and sewage services increased by six percent on average in the country. The exact figures can vary depending from the region. The newspaper recalled that the plans of the authorities to soar the tariffs of the utility services were divided into two stages. “The tariff growth will be made twice this year. Since July 1 the tariffs on the utility services went up by 9.7% on average. A slight growth is also expected starting from September 1. So, the overall tariff growth will reach 11.4%,” head of the Moscow department of economic policy and city development Maxim Reshetnikov said the other day.
Another novelty, which came into effect since July 1, became a higher excise duty on strong alcohol drinks (by 20%). Meanwhile, the lowest price of the standard half-a-litre bottle of vodka went up from 98 to 125 roubles. Meanwhile, the excise duties on tobacco products increased by 7.5%. According to estimates of the tobacco-producing companies, the price for a pack of cigarettes will increase by 4-5 roubles on average by the yearend.
The car owners also became the target of higher fines. The fines for violations of the parking rules became higher than for other violations of the traffic rules. The fines went up 3-15 times in the regions depending from violations and 10-30 times in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
It is noteworthy that in the previous year the government motivated the delayed date of higher tariffs with the struggle against inflation, the Moskovsky Komsomolets daily noted. However, ‘the July 1 surprises’ became twice higher than the growth, which the Central Bank has planned for the consumer prices this year.
The Komsomolskaya Pravda daily noted that the whole Russian housing and public utilities sector is absolutely ramshackle. According to the Ministry of Regional Development, the wear of the utility lines reached 70% on average in the country. According to estimates of Deputy Minister of Regional Development Anatoly Popov, six trillion roubles are needed for the overhaul of the housing and public utilities sector. For instance, the whole Russian budget reaches 12 trillion roubles (expenditures) this year. Some 6.5 billion roubles were allocated for the development of the housing and public utilities sector. This is a thousand times less than is needed.
The government hopes that private investors will come to the industry and will make investments of six trillion roubles immediately, the newspaper reported. The problem is that the housing and public utilities sector is still loss-making for investments. The businesspeople naturally want to get some profit. Several amendments are planned to make in the legislation to attract private investors. The main amendment is a long-term planning of tariffs. The tariff growth is set for 3-5 years in advance. For instance, the government decides that the tariffs will grow by ten percent in 2013, 12% in 2014 and 13% in 2015. No one will be able to change them in the future. Such stability is needed for making up the business plans. Ordinary citizens should also be aware in advance what awaits them. But there are low hopes that the investors will come and save the housing and public utility sector soon, therefore, this mission is shouldered on thin purses of ordinary Russians.