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EghtesadOnline: In a bid to encourage companies to return their export earnings to the country, the Central Bank of Iran has offered a new incentive package.

Depending on the exporters’ earnings and their performance, the incentive involves allowing them to sell a portion of their forex to exchange bureaux in cash or hawala instead of selling entirely via Nima (Persian acronym for the Integrated Forex Deals System), the CBI website reported. 

Nima rates are higher than the official CBI rates (42,000 rials to one USD) but lower than the open market rates (1USD= 118,000 rials). This is a primary reason behind many exporters’ reluctance to sell their forex via Nima. They say they have no objection to repatriate their currency earnings, but the compulsion to sell via Nima is a spanner in their works. 

Unlike earlier directives that enforced regulations for all exporters regardless of their share of currency repatriation, the new rules classify exporters into four categories depending on the earnings they brought back to the country, according to Financial Tribune.

Accordingly, the CBI divides exporters into high performers (those with above 60% repatriation), mid-performers (between 30-60% repatriation), low performers (below 30% repatriation), and zero performers (those who didn’t return any of their export earnings).    

The regulator allows exporters whose export earnings fall below $1 million to sell their currency in currency exchange shops or use it to import other goods, either for themselves or others. All exporters with below $1 million earnings are exempt from selling their currency via Nima. 

As per the directive, exporters who repatriate over 60% of their earnings and their earnings are $1-3 million will be allowed to sell a maximum $1.5 million to exchange shops and 40% via Nima. 

Top-performers whose earnings fall between $3-10 million are allowed to sell up to  $2 million to exchange ships and 40% on Nima. 

Finally, those whose earnings exceed $10 million are free to sell maximum $4 million to exchange offices and 70%  on Nima. 

The CBI has reassured exporters who abided by the previous directives and returned over 60% of their earnings to be put in higher priority for forex allocations, besides the above privileges. 

Exporters who bring back 30%-60% of their earnings are allowed to offer maximum $1.5 million of their earnings to exchange shops if their earning is $1-3 million. They also should sell 45% of their currency on Nima.  

For earnings between $3-10 million, the mid-performers are allowed to sell maximum $1.5 million to exchange shops and 55% via Nima. 

Finally, exporters whose earnings exceed $10 million are allowed to sell maximum $2 million to official forex exchanges and 80% on Nima. 

For the third group of exporters who repatriate less than 30% of their earnings, of their $1-3 million income they can sell up to $1 million to exchange offices and 50% on Nima. For earnings between $3-10 million, the exporters are obliged to offer 70% via Nima and up to $1 million to exchange shops. 

If they generate over $10 million from exports, the regulator wants them to sell 90% of the total via Nima and a maximum of $1 million to exchange shops. 

The directive allows exporters to use the remainder of their earning for importing their own needs or for other traders after they sell their share to exchange shops and sell the specified quota on Nima. 

The CBI directive also addresses exporters whose currency repartition is zero, warning them that they will face prosecution.  It said the provisions of the latest directive is valid up until the end of the current fiscal on March 20.


Iran CBI Central Bank of Iran export earnings CB Currency Repatriation incentive package