Iranians’ cash subsidies to increase
Azerbaijan, Baku, March 25 / Trend M. Moezzi /
The Iranian government has added 280,000 rials (about $23) to the monthly cash subsidy it pays to its citizens, the Iranian Labour News Agency reports.
Currently, Iran's year-old targeted subsidies programme pays each citizen about 455,000 rials (about $37) a month while eliminating subsidies for energy and commodities.
The additional payment will be deposited in citizens' accounts on April third but can't be withdrawn until the second phase of the subsidy program starts, said the head of Iran's Targeted Subsidies Organisation, Behrooz Moradi.
It still isn't clear if the added cash will be given on a monthly or bi-monthly basis.
The government was expected to save $54 billion in one year. Instead, it has had to borrow $6.5 billion from the Central Bank of Iran to make the cash payments to its citizens.
In mid-March, without any prior warning the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) withdrew $3.5 billion from banks' accounts for what it called the foreign currency differential. After the banks protested the CBI returned $2.8 billion of the funds it had taken-- about the same amount as what the government pays Iranian citizens for one month of its targeted subsidies program. The central bank has promised to repay the rest of the money it took.
In another incident, Iranians complained about a text message telling them to withdraw from the subsidy program. In response to citizens' protests, Mr. Moradi, the subsidy organization chief, said the word "optional" wasn't included in the message because it was limited to 70 characters.