EghtesadOnline: Head of the National Development Fund of Iran (NDFI) said repayment of loans given by the sovereign wealth fund has gained pace in recent months.
“Since the beginning of the last fiscal year [March 2021] up until now, we have collected debts three times more than the same period in the previous year,” Mehdi Qazanfari told IBENA.
NDFI is independent of the government and was set up in 2011 to curb dependency on oil and save some of the earnings from oil and gas exports for future generations.
The fund lends to nongovernment public sector, private firms and cooperatives in need when government revenues are low.
The official estimated reimbursed debt in cash at $2 billion in five months, adding that there were payments in other forms.
“We signed an agreement with one a big debtor in the oil sector, which owed about $4 billion, to receive shares worth $3 billion,” he was quoted as saying. He did not name the company.
Taking into account the debt swap, Qazanfari said the NDFI has collected $5 billion from the pending $6 billion this year, describing it as “a good development”.
The official reiterated that borrowers must settle their forex debts in the same currency and at current exchange rates.
Over the years, repaying forex loans borrowed long time back has become a hot button issue among private companies and the NDFI.
The latter insists that the firms repay the forex loans in foreign currency at present rates while the former want to repay at the same rate when they borrowed. The indebted companies refer to the unpresented rise in currency rates and rising production costs that have undermined their ability to repay at higher rates.
Most of the unpaid loans belong to more than a decade ago when forex rates were much lower.
The NDFI has said that given the state of affairs it wants to focus on investing instead of lending. Its board of directors recently gave the wealth fund the go-ahead to do so.