Economy, Business And Markets

'Justice Shares' Draft Bill Ready

'Justice Shares' Draft Bill Ready
'Justice Shares' Draft Bill Ready

The ministry of economic affairs and finance has prepared a draft Justice Shares reform bill which will be sent to the parliament after the cabinet confirms it in its weekly session, an official said Wednesday.

Deputy minister Abdollah Pouri Hosseini, who is also the head of Iran's Privatization Company (IPO), said what people have in their hands now "are not the shares but only the registration papers."

Since 2007, when Ahmadinejad's administration sped up privatization based on Article 44 of the Constitution, a plan was approved to offer shares to low-income families, starting with the poorest. Under the Justice Shares plan, millions of Iranian families received shares in state-owned firms, the value of which was supposed to be reimbursed 20 years after the dividends were generated by those shares.

After the ratification of the bill, Justice Shares will be offered in the stock market and could be priced, Pouri Hosseini said. "The owners would naturally benefit from all the advantages of the bills, including selling or purchasing them."  

Transactions of the shares are currently illegal, he warned. "Purchasers will definitely incur losses in the future."

The actual source of the dividends became a subject of heated debate in Iran as many analysts called them "shares without profit." The move was analyzed as another populist policy pursued by the previous administration.

In December 2006, the government said that some 4.6 million low-income Iranians had received Justice Shares worth $2.5 billion as part of the scheme.