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EghtesadOnline: In collaboration with Tehran Information Technology Union, the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration has devised a mechanism to ease imports of computer equipment, parts, and electronics.

Over the past several months, due to the unprecedented jump forex rates, IRICA and importers were not able to agree on how to calculate the price of imported goods and the related tariffs. The extended uncertainty and market concerns hampered the work of importers and affiliated businesses.

Tehran IT Union’s director Mehdi Mirmehdi told the news website Peivast that after marathon talks IRICA and the union have come up with a system that can help ease the process. A database of the prices of goods is to be created under the supervision of the union.

He said as per an agreement between the union and the customs, a task force will be established to facilitate imports of computer devices, spares, and electronics, according to Financial Tribune.

“Furthermore, imported computer devices and electronics worth 900 billion rials ($6.9 million) which have been stuck in IRICA warehouses for months will be cleared in the coming weeks,” Mirmehdi added.

As per a directive issued by First Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri, retailers of computer devices and electronics must put price tags ratified by the union on the goods they sell. Shopkeepers will be prosecuted if the price tags are missing or have been tampered with.

The Iranian currency has lost 70% of its value in the past eight months and the result has been that foreign currency rates jump every day hitting unprecedented highs several times in a week. On Tuesday the US dollar was traded at 132,000 rials in Tehran. The greenback was sold for 160,000 to 18,000 rials some weeks earlier. In  March it hardly fetched  42,000 rials.

With forex rates fluctuating at a terrible speed, many dealers tamper with price tags on goods. In a move apparently aimed at regulating the market and clamping down on fraud and malpractice, the government of President Hassan Rouhani has declared penalties for price gouging.

Independent observers say even if the government can exact such penalties its impact will be negligible simply because the authorities do not have the human resources to monitor all shops at regular intervals. 

Many point to the deteriorating economy saying that there will be no end to such fraudulent practices unless the major economic problems are solved and a semblance of economic normalcy returns. 

>Chaotic Market 

Earlier in the week, Persian-language economic daily Donya-e-Eqtesad reported that due to the economic problems many shops offering computer devices and electronics have been forced to shutdown. The paper recalled that the prices of electronics have more than doubled over the past six months.

Market sources say the prices have gone through the roof and average Iranians simply cannot afford to buy computers. An unnamed shopkeeper told the paper, “We don’t have goods to sell. Even if we had no one would buy. We have been left with no option but to shut down.”

The same distress is visiting online shops offering computer devices. Electronics are either marked as unavailable or the prices are so high that few if any people would buy.

For instance, an Apple iMac Retina 5K 27 inch is priced 460 million rials ($3,480) in Iran. The same Apple desktop computer is sold for $2,300 in the global market.

An HP 1.92TB Internal SSD Drive is sold for 200 million rials ($1,515), while a PNY Quadro P5000 Graphics Card is priced 195 million rials ($1,477). A 2Tb Western Digital External Hard Drive sells for 9.6 million rials ($73) in Tehran.


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