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Kyrgyz Opposition Says Utility Hikes Will Repay World Bank Loan

BISHKEK -- Kyrgyz opposition leader Omurbek Tekebaev says the government will use increased payments from steep rises in utility prices to repay a $30 million World Bank loan, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Tekebaev, the leader of the Ata-Meken (Fatherland) party, told RFE/RL on November 17 that by increasing public utility fees the government "solves two [of its] problems."

Tekebaev said the government will attract more investors to its energy companies since they will begin earning more money and "will receive its own share [of money] for acting as the mediator."

He said increased revenue from the utility fees will be used by the cash-strapped government to repay the World Bank loan.

The government announced last week that it will introduce a three-year plan in January under which electricity prices will double and natural gas charges for heating will go up by some 500 percent.