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Azerbaijan Hikes Prices for Some Basic Services

Economic Rovshan Agayev says the price rises are unusually high.
BAKU -- The Azerbaijani government has hiked rates for some basic services, including for water, postage and commuter trains, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.

Water rates rose by more than 50 percent, according to a decision on January 31 by the Council of Tariffs. Postage rates and train fares also saw relatively large increases.

Economist Rovshan Agayev told RFE/RL the size of the price rises will come as a shock to many people.

"The government has never raised salaries or pensions by this degree. The best rise was 15-20 percent," Agayev said. He said he doubted the quality of service would improve after the price increases take effect.

Addressing parliament today, the chairman of the opposition Umid Party, Iqbal Agazedeh, urged deputies to demand an explanation from the government for the price increases.

The Council of Tariffs was established in 2002 and is chaired by the Minister for Economic Development.

Read in Azeri here