EghtesadOnline: Head of the Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture says the chamber has called on the government to explain on what premise it has calculated the amount of unreturned export earnings.
The Central Bank of Iran recently announced that exporters have failed to repatriate export earnings to the tune of $27.5 billion in the past two years.
Masoud Khansari said it has sent two separate letters to the CBI Governor Abdolnasser Hemmati and President Hassan Rouhani asking them to provide the chamber details about the huge amount.
He said there is a mismatch between the real unreturned earnings and CBI data about the repatriated export earnings in the past two years.
“As an organization in charge of issuing and suspending commercial cards, the chamber is entitled to know which members have and have not complied [with their financial commitments],” the TCCIM quoted him as saying.
“We hope the chamber will have access to the list to be able to determine the real amount of unreturned currency [earnings] by the private sector.”
Issues related to, and emanating from, failure to repatriate export revenues has come under the national spotlight for several months after chaos in the foreign exchange market was linked to forex shortages and unending demand.
Khansari said a negative atmosphere has been created against well-known exporters after the CBI announced the amount of unreturned export earnings. He underscored the need to separate defaulters from credible export firms.
He criticized the government for imposing stringent export repatriation rules, saying that exporters are facing the same obstacles in repatriating their earnings as the government faces in getting paid for its oil exports.
“How can private export companies be expected to quickly repatriate their earnings when the government itself cannot bring back its oil export revenue?”
The same argument was voiced by other members of the chamber. Ferial Mostofi, a prominent businesswoman and TCCIM member asked: “One thought-provoking question is that when the CBI is unable to get its own money from a country like South Korea, how does it want a small private exporter sector to do so in a short span of time?”
As per rules, exporters are obliged to return their earnings within four months starting from the date their export permit is issued by the customs authorities.
In the same vein, Ahmad Pourfalah, a senior advisor to the chief of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture criticized the CBI’s “unfair approach” toward private enterprise. “Credible exporters returned their earnings even when times were bad,”
He blamed commercial bodies affiliated to the government for defaulting on their obligations and not repatriating their 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 organizations are largely in noncompliance and should be held responsible.
“Most of those that have not returned their earnings are not real private companies. If the government is really steadfast in addressing this problem it would do better” to start from its own backyard, he has been quoted as saying.