Iran Economy NewsIran Regime’s Upcoming Budget Bill Will Lead To More...

Iran Regime’s Upcoming Budget Bill Will Lead To More Protests

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On January 12, the Iranian regime’s president Ebrahim Raisi handed over the country’s budget bill to the parliament.  According to the constitution, he must first introduce the 7th development program for the coming year, and then based on this plan he should then introduce the upcoming budget bill.

By being unable to determine the 7th development plan, it is evident that the regime is facing critical financial and economic problems. The decision to bypass this and go straight to introducing the budget bill has raised many objections among the regime’s officials.

Parliament had previously announced that until the 7th Development Plan is presented, reviewed, and approved, it will not take over the budget bill for 2023.

Alireza Salimi, a member of the parliament’s presiding committee, has announced that Raisi has only submitted a part of the budget bill to the parliament and that the budget tables and statistics are not included.

According to Article 184 of the Law of the Internal Regulations of the Parliament, the government is obligated to present at least one-twelfth or two-twelfths of the budget to the parliament, but Raisi’s government has refused to comply.

Despite such problems in presenting the budget bill to the parliament, Raisi has requested them to approve this same budget, which according to him is ‘the best budget presented’.

The problems with the budget

The government has decided that the salaries of retired employees will only increase by a mere 10% and the salaries of working employees by 20% during the next financial year. Meanwhile, the inflation rate in Iran is more than 50%, according to official statistical sources of the regime.

Of course, these statistics are only reliable it we trust the information and the data of the statistical sources of the regime, such as the Central Bank or the Statistical Center of Iran, when usually they are heavily manipulated. This decision will only add to the livelihood problems of salary earners and pensioners.

According to the official inflation rate and the proposed increase in salaries, the purchasing power of working employees will decrease by 24%, while the purchasing power of retirees and pensioners will decrease by 34%.

In a ridiculous statement, Raisi claimed that the coming budget bill is ‘justice-based’. Among other examples of Raisi’s justice, we can point out the fact that the minimum salary of employees for the next financial year is 70 million rials, while the regime’s Ministry of Labor has officially set the country’s current poverty line at 147,000 million rials. Hundreds of thousands of Iranian workers have been effectively condemned into poverty by the latest bill proposal.

Based on annual inflation of about 45% in 2022, Vahid Mahmoudi, one of the regime’s economists, has estimated the absolute poverty line for a family of 2 living in Tehran to currently be much higher than the regime’s statistics, at around 182,900 million rials.

Hamid Esmaili, another economic expert, believes that retirees with a salary lower than 90 million rials will not just be below the poverty line, but in the circle of absolute poverty.

In another surprise, the regime has announced in the budget bill that those who receive a salary of fewer than 70 million rials will be exempted from paying taxes, at a time when the regime has also announced that it will increase the taxes by 66%.

Raisi has claimed that the budget deficit in the proposed bill will be zero and he will try not to borrow from the central bank. This is despite official sources, including Mohammad Reza Pour Ebrahimi, the head of the economic commission of the parliament, claiming a deficit of 400 thousand billion rials. On January 1, the Bahar News website reported an even higher budget deficit of up to 600 thousand billion rials.

Raisi’s other surprise in the bill presented to parliament is his claim that the inflation rate will decrease by 19%. While the claim is hopeful, the obvious and bitter reality in the daily life of people is that they are witnessing between a 200 and 300% increase in the prices of basic goods. A meager decrease in the inflation rate isn’t going to solve their issues fast. It seems that the regime has only regulated the next budget bill for more social turbulence and protests.

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