Tehran, Iran, Jan. 7
By Milad Fashtami - Trend:
Iran needs some $24 billion to complete its railway projects in the next 8 years.
Managing Director of Iranian Railways Mohsen Pour Seyed Aghaei said that low prices of fuels in Iran has discouraged investors to spend money on rail projects, Iran's Fars News Agency reported Jan. 7.
"The government annually spends $20 billion on trucks' fuel subsidies," he said.
He went on to note that Iran's railways currently have the capacity to transfer 30 million metric tons of goods per year.
Deputy Director of Iran's Construction and Development of transportation infrastructure company (CDTIC) said on Jan. 6 that the Astara- Bandar-e Emam Khomeyni railway project will come on stream in the next Iranian calendar year (to start March 21).
"The railway connects northwestern Iran to southwest of the country," he said, Iran's Fars News Agency reported.
"We plan to construct 8,100 kilometers of highways and major roads across the country," he said.
"The projects have started," he said, adding that some 170 trillion rials (some $5.31 based on exchange rate of US dollar at the free market) is needed to complete the projects.
The official went on to note that some 2,400 kilometers of the mentioned projects are high priority and will be completed in 3 years.
Iran is facing budget deficit in the current year due to falling trend of oil prices in global markets. This has caused the country to halt most of the construction projects.
A member of the Construction Commission of Iranian Parliament (Majlis) Alireza Khosravi told Trend Agency on Dec. 12 that next year's budget plan envisages 480 trillion rials (some $18.11 billion based on the official exchange rate of US dollar) for construction projects.
However, the MP said that the construction budget of next Iranian calendar year (to start on March 21) is not enough to finish the incomplete projects.
"In the current year, we had 3,000 incomplete projects, but we managed to allocate budget to only 300 of them," he said.
"The trend will continue in the next year, and we will not be able to fund all the incomplete projects," he added.
According to Khosravi, the government, Majlis, and Judiciary can cut their current expenses to increase the country's construction budget.
"There are lots of incomplete projects, and current delays will only result in higher expenses," he said.
Iranian government submitted the $293-billion budget bill to Parliament on Dec.7. The budget of funding for running the government is $93.7 billion.
Edited by CN