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EghtesadOnline: The Central Bank of Iran says it will send to the judicial authority a bigger list of exporters that have failed to repatriate their currency earrings.

Last week the CBI said it had provided the judiciary with a list of 250 export companies and individuals who had not complied with the forex repatriation rules.

"An estimated 2,386 exporters failed to repatriate €17.7 billion from March 2019 to July 2020. This amount is expected to increase and the CBI is working with the Ministry of Industries, Mining and Trade and the judiciary," Samad Karimi, head of CBI's export department told Tasnim news agency. 

Individuals in that list returned €440 million after their names were sent to the judiciary, he added. Karimi said the CBI has prepared a new list of non-compliant exporters for the judiciary to take necessary legal action. 

Judiciary officials say the CBI should not hesitate when it comes to exposing the identities and names of defaulters.  

"Nearly 1,200 cases are still open regarding the CBI's list of exporters and 445 people are in custody. We believe that the CBI should change its approach towards illegal operations in the forex market and take lawbreakers to court," without further delay, Mohammad Reza Sahebi Pasandideh, a Tehran deputy prosecutor general,  was quoted as saying by the news agency.    

The issue of repatriating export earnings has gained relevance after turmoil in the forex market was linked to shortage of currency offered via Nima. 

The confusion compelled the central bank to issue an ultimatum to exporters to respect their financial commitments by the end of the Iranian calendar month (July 21). Failing to comply would oblige the CBI to name and shame the defaulters, the regulator had warned.

Export companies have not returned $27.5 billion of their overseas revenue over the past two years, the CBI has reported.

As per the new regulations, exporters must bring back at least 80% of their earnings in “foreign exchange hawala” and maximum 20% in hard currency. The proceeds must be sold via the secondary forex market to banks and authorized exchange bureaus. 


Revised Rules 

In the new rules, the regulator does not discriminate between petrochemical exporters and other exporting firms. Whereas in the past, exporters were required to sell at least half of their export earnings in the secondary market. Petrochemical companies are obliged to bring back at least 60% of their earnings and sell it via Nima.

Manufactures exporting their products can use maximum 30% of the overseas earnings for their imports but need to sell the remaining in forex hawala in the secondary market.  

Exporters are required to register their forex hawala with the Integrated Forex Deals Platform (known by its Persian acronym Nima.)

CBI claims that the largest portion of currency dues belongs to the private sector. Unmet currency commitments of private companies is said to be around $12.6 billion over the past two years, says Hossein Salahvarzi deputy head of  Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA) .

The CBI has often criticized the procedure of issuing commercial ID cards, by the various chambers of commerce. But the ICCIMA deputy argues that chambers only in charge of issuing cards.

"Why some individuals are allowed to export using the ID cards of others," Salahvarzi asked, adding that the chamber has proposed setting a ceiling for issuing commercial ID cards, but the government remains indifferent to this call.


Currency Iran central bank Exporters