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EghtesadOnline: Cooperatives will be granted 100% waiver on penalties provided they pay their taxes by the end of the current Iranian year (March 20, 2017), the head of Iran’s National Tax Administration, Kamel Taqavinejad, was quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency.

According to Bahman Abdollahi, the head of Iran Chamber of Cooperatives, 160,000 cooperatives have been registered in Iran, of which 110,000 are operating in 120 fields of activity, including agriculture, services, housing, transportation and production, among others.

The rest, he noted, have been closed down due to financial problems.

“Close to 20 million people are members of cooperatives across the country, but only 2 million people are employed in the sector,” he said.

Abdollahi noted that cooperatives account for 7% of Iran’s gross domestic product, whereas the Fifth Five-Year Development Plan (2010-15) had envisaged a 25% share for the sector.

Development plans have been devised by the government and ratified by parliament every five years since 1991 and are meant to provide the broad directions for a wide range of economic reforms and social priorities, Financial Tribune reported.

A cooperative refers to a firm owned, controlled and operated by a group of users for their own benefit. Each member contributes equity capital and shares in the control of the firm on the basis of one-member, one-vote principle (and not in proportion to his or her equity contribution).

According to deputy minister of cooperatives, labor and social welfare, Hamid Kalantari, non-oil goods worth more than $1.7 billion were exported by the cooperatives sector during the last fiscal year (March 2015-16).

“We are trying to increase this year’s exports to $2.5 billion,” Kalantari was quoted as saying in September.

Kamel Taqavinejad Iran Cooperatives Iran taxes