EghtesadOnline: The Majlis on Tuesday accepted sections of the March 2020-2021 budget bill related to ways and means the government and state-run companies can raise funds via the debt market.
As per the approvals, the government can issue bonds worth up to 100 trillion rials ($400 million) to pay the principal and interest on bonds sold in the framework of previous budgets, the parliamentary news website ICANA reported.
The government has allowed the Oil Ministry and affiliated companies to issue bonds worth $3 billion in local and foreign currency to repay bonds, bank loans and oil and gas contractors.
State-owned companies can issue a maximum of 65 trillion rials ($260m) in debt to implement projects "that are technically, economically, financially and environmentally viable." Companies issuing the bonds have to guarantee the reimbursement.
As an amendment to the original budget draft, companies affiliated to the agriculture and energy ministries are allowed to sell bonds to the tune of 270 trillion rials ($1 billion) through Bank Keshavarzi (main agro bank) sand other agent banks.
The Defense Ministry is allow to sell 20 trillion rials ($80 million) in bonds to fund "strategic and defense research projects" that will be replayed by the government.
Likewise, the industries, oil and energy ministries can jointly sell bonds worth 35 trillion rials ($140 million) to meet oil and gas infrastructure costs.
To fund projects for construction, completion and equipment of educational centers, the government can further sell 20 trillion rials ($80m) in debt.
The Central Insurance company of Iran has been given permission to issue bonds worth 10 trillion rials to "help fund insurance cover and risks."
Municipalities can issue a maximum of 80 trillion rials in bonds after approval by the Interior Ministry. The parliament allowed the Interior Ministry to issue bonds worth 10 trillion rials to upgrade "hydraulic firefighting equipment.” The government will underwrite such debt.
Lawmakers gave the go-ahead to the government to secure $30 billion in foreign funds -- a tall order given the dark shadow of the United States economic blockade imposed in 2018 under Donald Trump, the embattled former US ruler.
To pay for railroad expansion projects, MPs allowed the government to secure 15% of the loans from the National Development Fund of Iran, the sovereign wealth fund.
"After signing a deal with a foreign financier, the government is allowed to withdraw the equivalent of 15% of the foreign aid from the NDFI," Note 4 of the proposed budget says. If need be, te government can borrow $5 billion from Russia to fund development projects.