Minister demands oil sector help fund rebate
16 March 2006, BRUSSELS — Budget Minister Freya Van den Bossche remains adamant that the Belgian oil sector will contribute financially to the federal government's energy rebate.
16 March 2006
BRUSSELS — Budget Minister Freya Van den Bossche remains adamant that the Belgian oil sector will contribute financially to the federal government's energy rebate.
"The energy sector must pay part of the heating oil and gas discount," the Socialist SP.A minister said on Wednesday.
The minister was reacting to comments from the oil sector, which is demanding repayment in full of a EUR 100 million short-term loan to the government.
The money was used to pre-finance a discount in the price of heating oil the government had promised the public last year to offset the high cost of energy.
In an agreement reached between with the federal government and the oil sector, the money must be repaid by 31 March.
But Minister Van den Bossche is demanding that the oil sector contribute some money towards the energy rebate.
For its part, the oil sector denies any negotiations over its possible contribution have been entered into. It is demanding the full amount be repaid.
Meanwhile, consumer watchdog Test-Aankoop says the rebate that will be offered to gas users from 1 July 2006 is insufficient when compared with the discount already being offered to heating oil consumers.
Some 2.2 million Belgian households will have a right to a 6.4 percent discount on their gas bill from July, equating to about EUR 44 per family.
However, the consumer watchdog said the discount should amount to 8.9 percent, equating it to the discount afforded to households that use heating oil.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news