Iran Parliament Shortens List of Cash Subsidy Recipients
EghtesadOnline: Lawmakers obliged the government on Saturday to identify and remove three high-income deciles from the list of those receiving the monthly cash subsidy payment.
They ratified the measure late Saturday which had been sent to as part of the March 2019-20 budget bill to parliament for approval.
The First Clause of Note 14 of the budget bill states that "government is obliged to use all data banks at its disposal to identify and remove three high-income deciles from the list of cash subsidy recipients."
In the current budget, the Majlis had taken a more permissive approach to the controversial issue of paying cash subsidies, requiring the government to "gradually" remove the top three deciles from the cash subsidy list, according to Financial Tribune.
Some MPs had criticized the government for failing to act upon the measure this year, with some claiming that even Iranian expats receive the cash payments.
The chamber, however, opposed a proposal that sought to increase energy prices including gasoline. The issue had been a hot topic in recent weeks, with some fearing that the hike in prices at the pumps is ill-advised in the current tough economic conditions. The measure is not mentioned in the original government budget bill.
Mohammad Hussein Farhangi, the MP behind the proposal, referred to the massive fuel smuggling as the key issue that demands higher gasoline prices. Other MPs disagreed on grounds that it would stoke inflation. According to Mohammad Baqer Nowbakht, head of the Plan and Budget Organization, Iran pays about 9,000 trillion rials ($72 billion) in "hidden" subsidies mostly in the form of energy cost covers.