Iranian parliament to study cutting cash subsidies

Azerbaijan, Baku, Oct.9/ Trend F.Karimov/

The planning and budget committee of the Iranian parliament (Majlis) will study a proposal to cut cash subsidy payments to 30 percent of Iranians, IRNA quoted MP Ja'far Qaderi as saying.

The economic subcommittee of the planning and budget committee has accepted to study the proposal," he said, adding that it will be discussed two weeks later.

On Saturday, the Tasnim News Agency reported that the Iranian parliament (Majlis) has proposed the administration to cut cash subsidy payments to 30 percent of people with the highest level of income.

MP Ahmad Tavakkoli has criticized the current method of cash subsidy payments, saying that paying subsidies in cash to people is carried out just in Iran.

At present, the government pays 33000 trillion rials (about $106 billion based on the rate of USD at the free market) per month. By cutting 30 percent of cash subsidies, the government will be able to save 60 trillion rials to compensate for the budget deficit. This can make for one tenth of the current year's budget deficit, which equals to the cash subsidy for 74 million Iranians.

Some MPs opposed the predicted deficit in budget figures and Iran's parliament dismissed a vote on an urgent revision of current year's budget bill.

On September 4, the IRNA news agency quoted Iranian president Hassan Rouhani as saying that the predicted income of Iran's current year's budget had been realised by 52.8 per cent during the Iranian calendar month of Mordad (July 23- August 22).

He went on to note that during the first months of the current solar year the budget income had been 43 per cent realised.

Rouhani recalled that the country is facing a massive budget deficit, adding the current year's budget proposed by the previous administration is unreal.

In September, spokesman of the Iranian Parliament Energy Committee Hossein Amiri-Khamkani said that the Iranian administration will face a $40.4 billion (based on the official rate of 24,770 rials per each USD) deficit in the current solar year's budget (started on March 21) if it pays cash subsidies, ILNA news agency reported.

He went on to note that the administration can prevent this problem with increasing prices.

In mid-August, ISNA quoted First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri as saying that one third of government income recognised in the budget would not be realised.

The subsidy reform plan pays out $37 to Iranians while eliminating subsidies for fuel and some commodities.

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