EghtesadOnline: Head of the Export Department of the Central Bank of Iran on Monday gave some clarification about the €25 billion in unreturned export earnings.
This comes after business leaders last week called on the government to explain on what premise it had come to the conclusion that such a huge amount was pending.
In a press release on the CBI website, Samad Karimi referred to export permits issued by the customs offices to say that companies in the non-oil sector had exported goods worth €56.1 billion in the last two years (April 2018 to June 2020), out of which €33.6 was repatriated.
Add to this €2.5 billion in unreturned earnings from goods exported to Iraq and Afghanistan in the said period.
Karimi said the CBI is focused on 2,386 exporters with export value of above €1 million each but who repatriated less than 70% (between zero to 70%) of their earnings. The value of goods sent out by this group was €24 billion while only €6.4 billion came back home.
“In other words, these exporters failed to repatriate €17.7 billion of their earnings,” he was quoted as saying.
Karimi noted that economic and monetary policymakers give importance to this group of exporters considering their role in the currency market dynamic. The government will resort to some “compromise” with them.
“Efforts will be made to reach a compromise with them and relevant supervisory bodies will [encourage them to] return their earnings in the entirety to boost access to forex in the secondary market.” He did not elaborate.
By secondary market, he referred to a trade platform known locally as Nima (Integrated Foreign Exchange Deals System) where exporters sell their proceeds and importers buy them to import goods. Shortage of currency in this particular market has been blamed for the steep hike in currency rates in past several months.
In response to claims that petrochemical and mineral exporting companies, mostly affiliated to the government, are responsible for most of the unreturned earnings, Karimi said they had fulfilled most of their financial commitments.
He said 58 such companies exported goods worth €17.1 billion in the past two years, of which €14.4 billion was returned, representing 84% of their total commitment.
With regard to the performance of mineral companies, 12 affiliated to Iranian Mines & Mining Industries Development & Renovation, (IMIDRO) exported minerals worth €5.3 billion in the period and 83% of the earnings, or €4.4 billion was returned.
Karimi said the CBI has sent the name of 250 exporters, who failed to return their earnings amounting to €6.8 billion ($7.6 billion) to the judicial authorities.
Last week, head of the Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture Masoud Khansari said he had sent two separate letters to the CBI Governor Abdolnasser Hemmati and President Hassan Rouhani asking them to provide the chamber details about the $27 billion rials in unreturned earnings as often claimed by senior government officials.
He said there is a mismatch between the announced unreturned earnings and the CBI’s past data about repatriated export earnings in the past two years.
Khansari said a negative atmosphere emerged against well-known exporters after the CBI announced the amount of unreturned export earnings. He called to separate defaulters from credible companies.