$9.9b Earmarked for Cash Subsidies Next Year
Lawmakers voted on Saturday for the government to earmark 375 trillion rials ($9.91 billion) for cash subsidies in the new Iranian year (to start March 21, 2017).
The sum is only sufficient to pay 68 million Iranians while 77 million people are on the list of cash subsidy recipients.
The parliamentary move suggests that the government has to either narrow the list by 9 million people or earmark 105 trillion rials ($2.77 billion) out of the budget for development projects to cash handouts, the Persian daily Etemad reported.
Government Spokesman Mohammad Baqer Nobakht said on Saturday that 4,853,386 people have been removed from the list of cash subsidies recipients as of January 20.
As part of the “Subsidy Reform Plan”, the administration of former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad removed subsidies on food and energy in 2010 and instead paid 455,000 rials ($11.9) to all Iranians on a monthly basis.
The administration of President Hassan Rouhani has kept the plan it inherited from the previous government, albeit reluctantly amid financial constraints exacerbated by plummeting oil revenues.