New Water Bill Receipt Fee Sparks Outrage Among Residents in Bokeo

New Water Bill Receipt Fee Sparks Outrage Among Residents in Bokeo
This image is used only for representational purpose (photo: metrohm)

Bokeo Province’s Water Supply State Enterprise has stirred controversy with a new regulation requiring households to pay LAK 10,000 (approximately USD 0.47) for every water bill receipt. Residents are condemning the move, labeling it a burdensome financial measure by the government.

The announcement, on 9 April, has prompted strong reactions from Bokeo’s residents, who are questioning the sudden imposition of a fee for a printing cost for receipts previously provided free of charge. 

“Residents should have the right to choose whether or not they want a receipt [they have to pay extra for],” expressed one Facebook user.

Meanwhile, someone suggested a digital alternative: “They could send the receipt digitally, such as WhatsApp, if they want to save costs.”

“It’s clear that the 10,000 kip isn’t just for printing,” added another user.

Some residents have further expressed concerns about future charges, drawing comparison to the recent LAK 3,000 (USD 0.14) deduction from SIM card balances for “security reasons,” which was fully implemented earlier this month. With the high inflation rate at 24.98 percent in March, accompanied by the current massive labor shortage, speculation is rife that all the charges so far are part of a broader strategy by the government to extract money from the public due to the country’s struggling economy.

As the new regulation is set to take effect in May, the discontent among Bokeo’s residents continues to grow. Many are calling for transparency and accountability from the government, emphasizing the need for policies that prioritize the well-being of the people over financial gains.