Iran Banking Reform Bills in MPs’ Crosshairs
EghtesadOnline: Members of the Iranian Parliament’s economic commission on Saturday continued reviewing articles of long-awaited reform bills targeting the country’s ailing banking system in addition to its central bank.
Two members of Majlis Economic Commission confirmed that the entity resumed the review of Comprehensive Banking Law that is a collection of four bank reform measures. The four measures include a banking plan devised by parliamentarians, the central bank reform plan, an initiative to form the Islamic Development Bank and another scheme for overhauling the country’s decades-old banking laws.
“Reviewing details of the Comprehensive Banking Law commenced in the commission in today’s special session,” Fatemeh Hosseini, an MEC member, told IRNA on Saturday after the meeting.
She pointed out that the meeting was being held at a time when the two-week holidays of MPs are underway, but Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani ordered the meeting to be convened to evaluate the country’s current dire economic situation and accelerate bank reform, according to Financial Tribune.
A group of MEC members had called for holding the meeting in a previous letter to Larijani.
Hosseini said their request was to dedicate one week of the two-week holiday to reviewing banking reforms. She said MEC will continue to review articles of Banking Reform Bill until Sept. 11.
Amer Ka’bi, another MEC member, also confirmed that the commission discussed banking reforms on Saturday, stressing that the focus was on central bank reforms.
“Following up on the review of articles related to reforming the Central Bank Law was on MEC’s agenda today,” he told ICANA, the official news outlet of the parliament.
“Reviewing authorities of the [central bank] High Council and its role in the new envisioned structure of the central bank were some of the main pivots of today’s meeting concerning the Central Bank Law.”
Members of the commission first started reviewing articles of Banking Reform Bill in early August.
MEC Rapporteur Zahra Saeidi Mobarakeh said on Aug. 4 that the commission has already spent four days reviewing the reform plans.
“The main focus of the commission’s meetings concerning the review [of reform plans] was to decide on the goals, duties and authority of the central bank, the bank’s structure and general conditions for members of CBI’s High Council,” she said at the time.
“The main goal of the parliament in presenting the aforementioned plans is to increase the independence of central bank and boost the efficiency and operations of the bank.”
Bank reforms are expected to yield tangible results before the current fiscal year ends in March 2019.
On Saturday, both the aforementioned MPs pointed out that Central Bank of Iran Governor Abdolnasser Hemmati presented a report on the conditions of the volatile foreign currency market and the regulator’s plans to manage the market.
After the meeting, Hemmati responded to reporters, but did not speak of banking reforms.
On Friday, Hemmati had participated in the trilateral Tehran Summit between Iran, Russia and Turkey, which also touched on banking subjects.
In a post on his Instagram page, the CBI governor confirmed that he met with counterparts from Turkey and Russia while accompanied by Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh.
“Selling oil, purchasing essential goods, expanding banking relations, dealing with each other’s national currencies with the aim of eliminating the US dollar and generally expanding trade and economic ties were the main subjects of negotiations and agreements with the two neighboring nations,” Hemmati wrote.