Ex-Gov’t Bungling Leaves Huge Debt for Incumbent

Ex-Gov’t Bungling Leaves Huge Debt for IncumbentEx-Gov’t Bungling Leaves Huge Debt for Incumbent

After much debate, the Tehran City Council (TCC) passed its annual budget for 2015-16. The budget also spotlighted the government’s massive debt to the Tehran Municipality (TM) largely incurred by the two-term period of the previous government of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The total amount owed by the TM is approximately $2.4 billion – 90% of which is the legacy of the previous administration. According to the Persian newspaper Taadol, the overdue is largely in traffic fines, of which 1% of the revenue must go to the municipality.

The law dictates that 1% of the traffic fines collected should go to the municipality, and another 1% each to the insurance organization and the police department, said Tehran deputy mayor, Mahmoud Salahi in a press conference. “In 2014 in March we received $10 million while in 2013 we were given only $267,000 for the whole year; more remains to be paid and our friends in the government have given their word to compensate for the rest of the share.”

Salahi called for greater cooperation from the government with the municipality to restore and renovate the old parts of the capital, cleaning up the debris and widening the narrow passageways. “We have not billed the government for some of these services and we consider it to be indebted to us in this area as well.”

 VAT Paid

He acknowledged that the government has been prompt in paying its share of the value-added tax to the civic body, stating that a greater part of the 8% of the TM’s share of VAT has been paid.

 “We understand the challenges the government is facing at the moment especially with regard to low oil prices, and therefore we have made some recommendations so that the government can pay off some of its debts in cash or kind.”

He also sought greater administrative involvement in public transport, namely bus and metro services.

 “We are working to tackle the problem of traffic congestion and air pollution and hence we have no choice but to expand the passenger railway system.”

 In the past “we used to build 2.5 km of metro lines annually, it is now 22.5 km but the ideal length is  30 km.”