Iran: Idea of Lopping Off Zeroes From Rial Reemerges
EghtesadOnline: Governor of the Central Bank of Iran Abdolnaser Hemmati said Sunday the regulator has proposed to the government lopping off four zeros from the rial.
In a meeting with a group of lawmakers, Hemmati said if endorsed by the government the proposal will be sent to the parliament to become law.
Head of the Majlis Economic Commission said the decision to drop four zeros from national currency is on the parliament agenda and studies about the CBI proposition are underway.
Mohammad Reza Pour-Ebrahimi said it was proposed initially to lop one zero off the rial but as dropping zeros incur high costs, dropping four zeros instead of one seemed more reasonable, Financial Tribune reported.
“Given the heavy cost of dropping zeros, namely changing banknotes, coins, documents and the financial problems that will emerge, dropping 4 zeros makes more sense,” he was quoted as saying by Islamic Consultative Assembly News Agency.
The notion of reducing zeros from rial were floated several times in the past but was never implemented.
The government sent a measure to parliament back in 2016 to change the currency's denomination from rial to toman as part the Central Bank bill, and drop one zero in the process but that has not been finalized yet.
Pour-Ebrahimi says economic circumstances “would not be highly influenced” by the initiative, which is basically intended to simplify calculations and business transactions.
Removing four zeros would turn a 100,000-rial note into a 10-rial note and as a result “a USD would be equal to about 10 rials.”
He said getting rid of the zeros is enshrined in the Islamic Republic Banking Bill which is proposed by the parliament and is currently under review in the Majlis Economic Commission.
In a ceremony attended by the CBI chief and Economy Mister Farhad Dejpasand earlier last week, the CBI unveiled a new 500,000-rial 'Iran check.'
In designing the new checks, four zeros on the top-right of the check are printed in brighter color than the color of the first two figures. Also, the figure ‘50’ is conspicuous on the bottom-right.
The fact that four zeros of the checks are pale is construed by economic experts and analysts as lopping off the zeroes – a proposal floated several times in the past but never taken seriously.
Removing zeroes from the national currency is not unprecedented in the world. The policy was successfully initiated by several countries in the past. Turkey, for instance is a successful example. It lopped six zeros from its lira in 2004 as a way to get rid of decades of high inflation.
Although, in some other countries like Zimbabwe, which is grappling with high inflation since 2003, getting rid of zeroes failed to produce the desired results.