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EghtesadOnline: Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture plans to set up a special committee to monitor procedures involved in repatriation of export earnings to the country that has become a hot button issue on the foreign trade landscape.

The committee will be based in ICCIMA and with provincial branches to facilitate the repatriation by identifying snags in the current methods and propose solutions in cooperation with relevant bodies, IRNA quoted the ICCIMA chief Gholamhossein Shafei as saying.

On the significance of such a move, Mozaffar Alikhani, a member of the chamber, pointed to the detrimental impact of sanctions and coronavirus pandemic on the economy and the need to adopt critical measures to expedite repatriation of export revenues.   

Alikhani said ICCIMA will soon decide about the operational framework. The committee will function in coordination with all relevant trade bodies, including to Industries Ministry, Central Bank of Iran and the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration. 

Issues related to, and emanating from, failure to repatriate export revenues has come under the national spotlight for several months after chaos in the forex market was linked to shortage of foreign currency and the unending demand. 

Two weeks ago, the CBI issued an ultimatum to non-oil exporters to expedite repatriation of their earnings, warning that their names will be made public through the media if they fail to comply.

As per CBI rules exporters should return their foreign currency earnings within four months after the date of export.

While the central bank insists on repatriation of earnings within the set deadline and existing regulations, exporters take issue with the CBI’s stringent measures complaining that it has done little if anything to pave the way for export companies to bring back their earnings. 

Younes Jaele asked the CBI to be more “generous” and employ supportive measures to encourage exporters. 

“At a time when the country is in need of foreign currency, the central bank should be more generous and buy currency at higher rates,” he was quoted as saying. 

Exporters have always complained about rules that oblige them to sell their overseas earning at the secondary foreign exchange market where rates are lower than the open market. 

The secondary market, known locally as Nima, is a platform where export proceeds are sold and companies buy it for their import needs. 

In the same vein, Ahmad Pourfalah, a senior advisor to the ICCIMA chief criticized the CBI’s “unfair approach” toward the private sector. “Real exporters returned their earnings even during tough conditions”. 

He blamed commercial bodies affiliated to the government for defaulting on their obligation to repatriate export earnings, saying that the figures announced by the government regarding unreturned earnings are “too high” to be lumped together with the “real private sector.” In his opinion government-affiliated entities are largely in noncompliance and should be held responsible.  

“Majority of companies that have not returned their earnings are not real private companies. If the government is really steadfast in addressing this problem it would be better” to start from its own backyard. 

Last week, CBI Governor Abdolnasser Hemmati said export companies had not returned $27.5 billion of their overseas revenue over the past two years.

 

Iran ICCIMA Industries Procedures Agriculture Mines Commerce