EghtesadOnline: Iranian lawmakers approved the revised outlines of the budget for the next fiscal year (March 2018-19) on Wednesday, clearing the way for its detailed sectoral voting in the weeks ahead.
The Wednesday session saw 182 votes in favor, 73 votes against the amended budget bill while six MPs abstained.
This came after an unprecedented rejection of the general outlines of the budget bill first tabled in the parliament on Sunday when lawmakers sent it back to the Majlis Joint Commission for revision.
President Hassan Rouhani submitted the government’s budget bill to the parliament on Dec. 10, according to Financial Tribune.
The commission is a parliamentary body responsible for reviewing the budget bill as well as the five-year economic development plans proposed by the government before its final ratification.
According to the commission’s spokesman, Ali Asghar Yousefnejad, the outlines of the budget were approved by MPs after major revisions, including lowering the government’s debt ceiling and increasing the budget for monthly cash payments, were incorporated.
The budget allocated to cash subsidy payments in the next fiscal year (starting March 21) was increased by 70 trillion rials ($1.52 billion) to reach 300 trillion rials ($6.52 billion) while the ceiling set for revenues from the Subsidy Reform Plan was raised to 440 trillion rials ($9.56 billion) from the previous 370 trillion rials ($8.04 billion).
As part of the Subsidy Reform Plan, the previous government removed food and energy subsidies in 2010 and paid 455,000 rials ($9.8) to each and every Iranian on a monthly basis. The controversial plan has been retained by the current administration.
“The commission also decided to reduce the borrowing limit via the so-called Mosharekat bonds by 200 trillion rials ($4.34 billion) next year and keep it at 385 trillion rials ($8.36 billion) as per the Sixth Five-Year Development Plan (2017-22),” Yousefnejad was quoted as saying by ILNA.
The parliament-approved budget needs the final endorsement of the Guardians Council—the body in charge of ascertaining the constitutional and Islamic nature of all laws—before it becomes a law.