16 May 2007 - 13:35
  • News Code: 104830
No More Subsidies for Gasoline Imports

TEHRAN – Majlis (Iran’s parliament) would not allot any subsidy plus 2.5 billion dollars the cabinet requested for imports of gasoline in the current year, a member of Energy Committee of the Islamic Consultative Assembly announced here Wednesday.

Mohsen Yahyavi told PIN the lawmakers voted for allocation of 2.5 billion dollars as gasoline subsidy while studying the 2007 budget bill, adding, “I do not think the MPs agree with allotment of more funds for imports.”

Majlis was determined to organize fuel subsidization, said the official, adding although the government reserved the right to offer a bill, it was duty-bound to put the plan on rationing gasoline into action as of May 22 and therefore the cabinet itself should provide the extra subsidy it needed due to the delay in rationing plan.

Mohammad Khoshchehreh, also an Economic Committee member, said it would take a miracle for the government to enforce gasoline rationing as of due time, May 22.

He called the timely enforcement of gasoline rationing impractical, adding the cabinet would prove highly efficient if it managed to do the job.

He called on the authorities to see to possible social, economic, political, and security repercussions to pave the way for the amendment of the plan.

Majlis was ready to ratify any bill to ration gasoline but the government was not prepared to allocate subsidies, said a lawmaker.

Hassan Moradi, another member of the Energy Committee, said he did not follow his proposal to allocate a 430,000-rial subsidy on gasoline to the low-income strata of the society because it was not feasible.

“The fact that currently the government is not ready to provide any subsidies is keeping such plans on hold,” he said.

Moradi added that MPs contended free-market sale of gasoline should be allowed in order to reduce the pressure of rationing, while certain members of the cabinet opposed, arguing that only state-owned cars should be entitled to using free-market petrol.

Another member of the Majlis Energy Committee Hossein Nejabat said that the government had rationed petrol based on the amount that would be imported according to this year’s budget bill.

Another MP said a double-urgency plan on realistic gasoline price would be submitted to the Majlis if gasoline rationing was not implemented at due time.

“If the government fails to enforce the 2007 Budget Law on gasoline by May 22, we will present the new proposal to the Majlis,” underlined the Energy Committee rapporteur Seyed Abdolmajid Shoja.   

The plan signed by 40 lawmakers would urge the government to allot every people 300 thousand rials ($32) per month in compensation for the unsubsidized gasoline, he told reporters on the sidelines of an open session of parliament.

Shoja emphasized that gasoline rationing would not come into effect as of May 22 since the technology to enforce the plan was not yet ready.

Referring to the negative consequences of the initiative the official added, “The cabinet and Majlis need to discuss the issue more seriously.”

Last week, a double-urgency plan for amending Clause V of note under Article 13 of the current year’s budget bill, which called for considering a one-tier pricing system for gasoline and had been signed by 37 members of parliament, was rejected through voting, getting 108 nays.

The plan called on the government to sell domestically produced gasoline in addition to imported gasoline up to a ceiling of 22,250 billion rials, equivalent of foreign exchange at 1,500 rials (16 cents) per liter.

The lawmakers said lack of the government’s readiness to enter into force a gasoline rationing system as well as people’s concerns and dissatisfaction over the rationing as the main reasons for rejecting the plan.

The plan had noted that since a two-tier price system would be more concerning to people than a single price, double urgencies of the plan should be approved by the MPs.

After voting, the plan was rejected through 108 nays, 66 ayes, and 6 abstentions.






News Code 104830

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