EghtesadOnline: The Central Bank of Iran has supplied $5,542 million at the subsidized forex rate of 42,000 rials per US dollar for the import of essential goods since the beginning of the current Iranian year (March 21).
Latest data released by CBI show it has allocated $1,218 million for the import of corn; $883 million for oilseeds; $580 million for barley; $1,097 million for unprocessed vegetable oil; $483 million for soybean meal; $225 million for wheat and $130 million for other essential goods.
Also known as necessity goods, essential goods are products consumers will buy, regardless of changes in income levels.
A total of $926 million were also allocated to the Health Ministry for importing pharmaceuticals and their raw materials over the period.
As per the decision of the government’s Economic Headquarters, a total of $6 billion are to be allocated for the supply of essential goods during the first half of the current fiscal year (March 2021-22).
Of the total sum, $4.5 billion will be offered to import corn, oilseeds, unprocessed vegetable oil, soybean meals, barley and wheat, and $1.5 billion to import pharmaceuticals and medical equipment.
Customs Clearance of $3.7b Worth of Essential Goods
A total of 6.1 million tons of essential goods worth $3.7 billion have been cleared at Iranian customs terminals since the beginning of the current Iranian year on March 21, the head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration said on Sunday.
“At present, 8.3 million tons of different kinds of commodities are stored in ports of entry, 4.5 million tons of which are essential goods,” Mehdi Mirashrafi was also quoted as saying by ILNA.
The official noted that following measures recently taken by the government, clearance procedures have been eased to reach 100,000 tons per day.
According to Mehrdad Jamal Orounaqi, the deputy head of IRICA, currently 4.6 million tons of essential goods are stored at customs terminals and ports of entry, in addition to 1.8 million tons in vessels near docks waiting to be unloaded.
From the total of 4.6 million tons, 3.4 million tons are stored at Imam Khomeini Port, 289,400 tons at Shahid Rajaei port, 173,100 tons at Chabahar Port, 4,700 tons in Astara Port, 97,300 tons in Fereydounkenar Port, 70 tons in Bandar Lengeh, 3 tons in Shahid Bahonar Port and 82 tons in Khorramshahr Port.
Corn has the highest volume among all the stored essential goods with 1.9 million tons followed by barley with 878,100 tons, soybeans with 745,200 tons, oilseeds with 473,700 tons, unprocessed vegetable oil with 375,000 tons, wheat with 69,300 tons, rice with 38,600 tons and sugar with 105,100 tons.
Imam Khomeini Port: Main Hub of Essential Imports
Boasting 40 wharfs, 140 kilometers of railroads within its premises and equipped with the latest loading and unloading facilities, Imam Khomeini Port located in southwest Iran is the hub of essential goods imports.
Close to 90% of Iran’s demand for livestock feed raw material and 79% of grains are imported through this southern port.
In the fiscal 2019-20, the port handled nearly 15.7 million tons of essential goods.
A total of 4.14 tons of essential goods have been unloaded in the southern Khuzestan Province’s Imam Khomeini Port since the beginning of the current Iranian year, showing a 3% rise compared with the similar period of last year, the news portal of the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development reported recently.
These commodities, which included wheat, barley, oilseeds, sugar, soymeal, rice and vegetable oils, were carried to the southern port via 73 vessels.
During the same period, 3.62 million tons of such goods were transported from the port to mainland, over 3.24 million tons by trucks and 379,000 tons by rail.
Imam Khomeini Port saw the inauguration and sod turning ceremonies for 18 investment and development projects worth a total of 15.79 trillion rials ($63 million) late 2020.
The event was attended by Minister of Roads and Urban Development Mohammad Eslami and CEO of the Ports and Maritime Organization of Iran Mohammad Rastad, Fars News Agency reported.
Among the most important inaugurated projects were four multipurpose warehouses, oil product reservoirs and a mechanized grain terminal.
Two projects for the construction of edible oil refineries were also launched on the same day.
Other projects were the overhauling of some of the wharfs and railroads inside Imam Khomeini Port premises, dredging operations, fixing breakwaters and providing proper lighting for the port’s launchers.
23m Tons Worth $12b Worth of Imports in Fiscal 2020-21
Over 23 million tons of essential goods worth $12 billion were imported into Iran during the last Iranian year (March 2020-21), according to the spokesperson of the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration.
“The lion’s share of this sum amounting to 13.44 million tons worth $3.74 billion pertained to livestock and poultry feed. This volume accounted for 58% and 31% of the weight and value of last year’s total essential goods imports respectively,” Rouhollah Latifi was quoted as saying by IRNA.
The spokesman noted that corn stood at 9.78 million tons worth $2.5 billion, soymeal for 1.82 million tons worth $793.94 million and barley for 1.83 million tons worth $457.32 million.
“Some 2.34 million tons of oilseeds worth $1.25 billion, in addition to 1.14 million tons of refined edible, semi-solid, liquid and unprocessed oils worth $1.06 billion were imported during the period under review,” he added.
The imports also included 14,798 tons of human medicine as well as medical equipment worth $1.64 billion and a total of 451,000 tons of livestock and poultry medicines worth $64.16 million.
“Our food imports also included 936,809 tons of rice worth $868.53 million, 3.02 million tons of wheat worth $841.23 million, 1.01 million tons of unrefined sugar worth $370.66 million, 64,822 tons of dried tea leaves worth $329.12 million, 175,260 tons of pulses worth $144.04 million, 30,487 tons of frozen or cold heavy livestock meat worth $133.27 million, 9,801 tons of butter worth $51.46 million and 4,422 tons of fresh light livestock meat worth $29.17 million.”
Latifi also said imports of essential goods mainly consisted of 51,415 tons of industrial machinery worth $510.8 million, 207,583 tons of paper worth $190.1 million, 231,064 tons of paper pulp worth $181.06 million, 252,204 tons of fertilizers worth $153.08 million, 9,074 tons of chemical pesticides and insecticides worth $86.27 million and 6,019 seeds of different kinds of plants worth $83.63 million.
The IRICA spokesman concluded that a total of 76,716 tons of heavy vehicle tires worth $282.84 million were imported during the period.
According to Mirashrafi, Iran imported 3.5 million tons of essential goods worth $9.7 billion from China, 5 million tons worth $9.6 billion from the UAE, $4.3 billion from Turkey, 2.2 million tons worth $2.1 billion from India and 1.2 million tons worth $1.8 billion from Germany in the year to March 20.
According to Mojgan Khanlou, a senior official with the Plan and Budget Organization of Iran, the government is allowed to gradually discontinue the allocation of subsidized forex to import essential goods during the first half of the fiscal 2021-22.
“As a result, prices will increase to some extent and demand will decline and a relative recession will come eventually,” Kaveh Zargaran, the chairman of the commission and secretary of the Federation of Iranian Food Associations, has been quoted as saying.
“Up to 2.8 million tons of essential goods, including rice, vegetable oils and unprocessed sugar that were purchased in the last Iranian year (March 2020-201), will be imported during the first five months of the current year (March 21-Aug. 22),” Amir Talebi, a senior official with the Government Trading Corporation of Iran, said recently.