EghtesadOnline: In a bid to ease Iranian technology firms’ access to hard currencies to bring goods into the country and receive services from international companies, the ICT Ministry with the assistance of two other national bodies has created an online platform for speedy allocation of foreign currencies to such businesses.
The online platform allows businesses and startups to submit requests for foreign currencies to purchase services or goods with the authorities deciding whether a certain product is vital for the country or not, the ministry’s website reported.
In addition to the ICT Ministry, two other organizations have allocated resources to the project, namely Iran’s Information Technology Organization and the Information and Communications Guild.
In many ways, the system, dubbed “Nasr”, is akin to another platform established by the government named “Nima” used for allocation of subsidized foreign exchange to imports of commodities in the face of looming US sanctions, Financial Tribune reported.
Following US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the historic 2015 Iran nuclear deal, the dollar exchange rate hit unprecedented highs and propelled the government of President Hassan Rouhani to regulate imports in an attempt to put a stop to the excessive outflow of foreign currency reserves.
While the majority of importers can submit requests for the allocation of hard currencies through Nima—the online Forex Deals Integrated System which allows importers to declare foreign currency needs—the ministry has established a specialized website for the ICT sector which will operate under the direct supervision of the ICT Ministry.
The idea for an independent online platform for the ICT sector was first conceived as a response to the profiteering practices of several mobile importers which received subsidized currency from the government at 42,000 rials but overcharged customers for the handsets using the plummeting value of the rial as the pretext.
The case is currently being investigated by the judiciary, but to avert such incidents in the future, Nasr will be under the tight control of the ICT Ministry.
Through the system, firms active in various fields of information and communication technology can request to receive foreign currencies. According to the ministry, communications firms, network operators, digital marketers, importers of telecom equipment and electronic devices among many others can register requests through the system.
Iranian companies which need hard currencies for hiring foreign experts can also use the system. Furthermore, the firms which need international online certificates for continuing their activities can also receive foreign currencies through Nasr.
Applications which do not fall in any of the aforementioned categories will be assessed by expert committees so as to determine their eligibility.
Applicants must sign up at nasr.irannsr.org before putting in a request. The ministry has pledged that all requests will be reviewed by expert committees.
In order to promote transparency, the data on the allocation of forex will be available to the public.
Head of ITO Rasoul Saraei’an says, “The platform will help those in the ICT sector who have encountered problems in obtaining hard currencies required for continuing their business.”