MP Says Gasoline Rationing Will Be Postponed Till Late Sept.

TEHRAN – Head of Energy Committee of Majlis (Iran’s parliament) here Monday predicted that gasoline rationing would be postponed from May 22 to Sept. 23 despite the government’s readiness to run the fuel smart card system.

Kamal Daneshyar told PIN that the president’s special envoy Ali-Akbar Mehrabian representing the cabinet Sunday offered the Energy Committee a promising report on the state performance on enforcement of Note 13 and distribution of fuel smart cards.

“Based on the report, the government has taken satisfactory measures to convert the vehicles’ gasoline-fueled system to gas-operated system, to purchase new buses and minibuses, to improve the production of low-consumption cars, and to distribute smart cards,” said the official, however adding the government needed more time to implement the project.

Contrary to the envoy’s view, Daneshyar is convinced that the rationing of commodity will not take effect at due time, May 22.

Insisting on his own prediction, the lawmaker urged the government to bring a bill before the Majlis to receive the nod for postponement of the parliamentary approval.

The lawmakers approved a much-debated petrol rationing mechanism that comprises a basic rate increase for a limited quota and a further increase for extra volumes.

Last March, the Majlis approved that the government could sell rationed gasoline at 1,000 rials (less than 11 cents) per liter through smart cards. The lawmakers also authorized the cabinet to determine the price of gasoline sold in excess of the rationed quota.

The government is obliged to sell the domestically produced gasoline and imported gasoline at the subsidy level of 22.25 trillion rials (2.4 billion dollars) on rationing scheme with priority given to gasoline smart card at the price of 1,000 rials per liter.

Member of Planning and Budget Committee Morteza Tamaddon told PIN the cabinet was determined to submit a bill to the Majlis in a bid to make a change in gasoline price, but the government abandoned the idea after exchanging views with parliamentarians.

Minister of Petroleum Kazem Vaziri-Hamaneh had expressed the cabinet’s willingness to supply gasoline at the rationing system at the current 800 rial (8.6 cent) rate per liter.

“The government puts the decisions of the Majlis into action as lawmakers have the final say,” said Vaziri-Hamaneh, adding, “We are ready to ration gasoline at due time.”

Representing Shahr-e Kord in Majlis, Tamaddon said the gasoline file had been closed and the MPs opposing the approval had better offer no proposals two weeks before the enforcement of the law.

The government spent almost four billion dollars on gasoline imports during March 2006-January 2007, recording a significant rise compared to the same period the in its preceding year.

A report issued by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance indicated that petrol import costs rose by 187 percent in the 10-month period, when 35.8 trillion rials ($3.9 billion) were spent on gasoline imports, up from 12.4 trillion rials spent during the same period the year before.



News Code 104048

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