The Croatian government on Wednesday adopted decisions based on which prices of natural gas for households should go down 18% as of April 1.

"Prices of gas for households are expected to go down by around 18%, depending on suppliers' costs," Economy Minister Tomislav Panenic said.

The adopted decisions refer to the price of gas at which the national producer of gas, the INA oil and gas company, is to sell domestically produced gas to the wholesale supplier, namely the HEP power company, and to the price at which HEP is to sell gas to suppliers selling natural gas to households.

Under the said decisions, INA will have to sell domestically produced gas to HEP at a price of HRK 0.1369 per kWh, which is 20.1% lower than the current price (HRK 0.1715 per kWh). HEP will sell gas to other suppliers of gas for households at HRK 0.1734 per kWh, which is 24.2% lower than now (HRK 0.2289 per kWh).

The lower price tariffs will be in effect from 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017.

The latest cuts in gas prices were explained with a drop in wholesale gas prices on the European market, which followed a drop in oil prices.

As for prices of gas for the industrial sector, Panenic said that those prices were determined on the market and were not regulated by the government.

Those prices are currently in line with the low prices in this region and the industrial sector has been benefiting from them, he said.  

Opening the government session, Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic congratulated all its members for passing the first big test - the adoption of the budget in the parliament.

"This is just the beginning, we all know that. I think that the reforms we have proposed are good but we are all aware that there is room for additional reforms and that this is just the beginning. Thank you all, and let's start working now as quickly as possible on building our future," said the PM.

The government also launched a procedure for the appointment of the new ombudsperson for people with disabilities since current Ombudswoman Anka Slonjsak's eight-year term in office expires in late May.

The government forwarded amendments to parliament on the Noise Protection Act, which align the law with European law in respect of elaboration of strategic noise maps. The government also adopted a decision to allocate aid to the Caritas charity organisation of the Eparchy of Krizevci in the form of food from commodity stockpiles, worth HRK 3 million.

The government also decided that Thursday would be a day of mourning in Croatia, dedicated to the victims of Tuesday's terrorist attacks in Brussels in which at least 30 people were killed and around 200 were wounded.

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