Iran Parliament Allows Gov’t to Borrow $30b Overseas
EghtesadOnline: While debating the March 2019-20 budget bill on Monday, lawmakers allowed the government to borrow $30 billion in foreign finance in the next fiscal (March 2019-20).
According to parliamentary news website ICANA, the remaining share of finance from the previous fiscal can be added to the approved figure.
As per the Note 3 of the budget bill, private sector projects, cooperatives, knowledge-based companies, and non-governmental institutions can seek foreign funds after putting up the collateral with agent banks.
Legislators allowed the government to withdraw the equivalent of 15% of costs of foreign-funded projects from the National Development Fund of Iran (the sovereign wealth fund). Foreign lenders to development projects have demanded that the head of the project (usually the government) pay 15% of the total cost of the project upfront, according to Financial Tribune.
MPs also gave permission to the government to apply for $5 billion in loans from Russia to complete development projects. They note that the money should be use for manufacturing and infrastructure projects, prioritizing green energies, nuclear energy, railroads, highways, dams, irrigation systems, and water projects.
The chamber voted on a section of the budget bill that allows government to reimburse its debts to the private sector, cooperatives, and nongovernment public organizations via by divesting parts of its assets.
As part of the privatization drive, the Majlis obliged the Ministry of Sport and Youth to divest Esteghlal and Perspolis , the two top football clubs, on Iran Fara Bourse, the junior market for securities in Tehran, before the end of September.
According to ICANA, initially 5% of the total share of each club should be offered in to be able to discover prices in the Base Market of IFB. After that 51% of the shares can be offered in blocks and the remaining in small number of shares.
The MPs decided on ways to settle government debt to the Social Security Organization and civil and military pension funds. In an amendment to Note 2 of the budget bill, the government is required to reimburse its debts up to 500 trillion rials ($3.8 billion) to the above mentioned entities via a variety of methods, namely by granting privilege and ownership after approval by the government, providing subsidized fuel and feedstock for manufacturing units in free trade zones, completing development projects and selling state-owned real estate.
Settling Debt via Financial Assets
In an amendment to Note 2 of the budget bill, the government is allowed to settle up to 10 trillion rials ($77 million) of the debt incurred due to non-enforcement of the General Policies of Article 44 of the Constitution on privatization via selling bonds and financial assets.
Article 44 of the Constitution states that the economy pivots on the three primary sectors: state, cooperatives, and private. It was amended in 2004 to allow for privatization of the bloated economy and downsize the government creating in it way more space for private enterprise.
As per the Law on the Implementation of the General Policies of the Article 44 of the Constitution, the government is required to spend 30% of its earnings from privatization to alleviate poverty.