TASHKENT, May 19 (Xinhua) -- Uzbekistan will introduce a monthly "social norm" - a limit for state-subsidized gas and electricity as a part of broader energy reform the country is facing, the government said Thursday.
The country's market needs phased reform to attract private investment and increase capacity to meet rising energy demand, said a joint statement of the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Energy, and Ministry of Economic Development.
Consumers who have used gas and electricity beyond the monthly social norm will have to pay extra money in accordance with the rate based on free market price, it said.
"The growing demand is satisfied by increasing the volume of natural gas purchased at free prices on the market. As a result, it also increases the amount of direct and indirect costs to maintain the current level of subsidized (or below the actual cost) natural gas tariffs at the expense of the state budget," the statement said.
It added that the Central Asia's most populous nation of 35 million people needs to attract private investments to create new energy capacities, and reform the energy market to make it more attractive.
The statement said that the government will soon draft a law on the social norm for electricity and gas, which will envisage protection of the vulnerable part of the population. ■