Domestic Economy

Budget Not Tied to Nuclear Talks

Budget Not Tied to Nuclear TalksBudget Not Tied to Nuclear Talks

Government spokesperson, Mohammad Bagher Nobakht on Friday emphasized that the government’s budget for the next fiscal year (starting March 21) is not tied to the outcome of the ongoing nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 group.

“Not even a cent in next year’s budget has been predicted based on the outcome of nuclear negotiations,” he was quoted by IRNA as saying, noting that the government has based its revenues only on resources that could be effectively materialized.

He however noted that the government has formulated a different budget which it will implement should the outcome of the negotiations with the P5+1 ( the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany) over Iran’s nuclear program is positive.

Iran and the six major powers started a new round of talks at the level of political directors in the Swiss city of Montreux on March 5 to work toward a final settlement to the 12-year dispute over Tehran’s nuclear energy program. They have agreed to work out a comprehensive accord by the self-imposed June 30 deadline.  

  Plan to Employ 38,000 People

The government is planning to recruit 38,000 people in the coming year (starting March 21); IRNA quoted Nobakht as saying earlier on Thursday.

“Financial resources have been allocated by the government for recruitment of those who have already passed the recruitment exams but not employed due to shortage of funds,” said the official, calling on all government bodies to begin the recruitment formalities.

The government spends a substantial part of its annual budget to pay the salaries of its workforce.  According to unofficial data, more than 2 million people are reportedly employed by the government. As of 2009, the government was said to be spending nearly 27% of its 930 trillion rials annual budget ($33.4 billion based at official exchange rate) for paying salaries to its employees.

Nobakht further referred to the government’s anti-inflationary policies, saying that the government’s ultimate aim is to bring down inflation to a single digit.

Noting that the inflation currently stands at 15%, he underlined the need to channel the financial resources towards productive activities in order to relieve the economy from what he referred to as “structural inflation.”  

He dismissed speculations that the government is planning to borrow from the central bank, saying: “The government has no such plans in the short or long term as such a policy would, no doubt, result in more inflation.”

  Next Year’s Budget

Parliament members on Tuesday approved a 8.449 trillion-rial ($304 billion at official exchange rate) budget bill for the upcoming Iranian calendar year, following detailed review of various revenue and expenditure sections in the budget bill proposed for next year.

According to Nobakht, the proposed budget was approved by the parliament with 5% higher revenues and expenditures than anticipated, “despite previous perception among some parliament members that the budget bill was too optimistic.”

The budget allocated for infrastructural projects has increased by 40 percent, in line with the general policies of the Fifth Five Year Economic Development Plan (2011-2016), said Nobakht, anticipating that the country’s economy will grow by at least 2.5% in the coming year.

He also noted that investments worth 580 trillion rials ($28.8 billion) by the government and 1.03 trillion rials ($37 million) by government companies are expected in the coming year, indicating 4% growth in investments compared with the outgoing year.