Iran to allocate $2.5 billion to oil, gas projects
Tehran, Iran, May 25
By Milad Fashtami - Trend:
Iran plans to allocate $2.5 billion to oil and gas projects by March 20.
The figure will be allotted out of of the National Development Fund (NDF), Iran's IRIB News Agency reported.
the money will go to high-priority projects of the oil ministry and National Iranian Oil company, such as development of South Pars gas field, development of joint oil and gas fields, and construction of NGL production units.
National Development Fund has been at the center of controversies in the past months.
Iranian MP Masoud Mirkazemi said on May 5 that he has some documents which show that the government took money out of the country's National Development Fund (NDF).
"The documents show that the government illegally took $4.1 billion out of the NDF in the last days of the previous [calendar] year (which ended on March 20)," Mirkazemi explained, Iran's Tasnim News Agency reported on May 5.
"The government took the money promising to return the money once the blocked oil revenues arrive in the country," he said.
The government has rejected the claim, but Mirkazemi advised the officials to be honest and say the truth.
The deputy director general of NDF said on May 2 that the current administration has not taken any money from the fund.
"Taking money out of the NDF needs the parliament's approval," Qasem Hosseini said, adding that so far the parliament has not approved anything like that.
He added that the assets of the NDF amount to $60 billion.
"The NDF's reserves were around $54 billion when president Hassan Rouhani took the office last August, and since then the figure has reached $60 billion, deputy director general of the NDF," Hosseini told Trend on May 2.
He went on to say that the fund isn't facing any problems, and the situation is desirable.
Commenting on earlier reports quoting Rouhani as saying that the NDF was empty when he took office, Hosseini said it was a misunderstanding.
"President Rouhani meant that the government had no money, not that the NDF is empty. The NDF is a non-governmental institute, which has sources other than the government," he explained.
The NDF is Iran's sovereign wealth fund. It was founded in 2011 to replace Oil Stabilization Fund.
Based on Article 84 of the Fifth Five-year Socio-Economic Development Plan (2011-2015), the National Development Fund was established to transform oil and gas revenues to productive investment for future generation.
Some 23 percent of the revenues from the mentioned sources went into the NDF in 2013. This share will reach 32 percent by the end of 2016.