Iran budget deficit expected to top $13b next year

December 29, 2019 - 14:32

TEHRAN - Director of the Supreme Audit Court of Iran (SAC) said the country’s budget deficit for the next Iranian calendar year (March 2020-March 2021) is expected to reach about 550 trillion rials (over $13 billion).

“If we put the “spending credits” component of the budget at the 15 percent which the government has estimated, considering the performance of the government in the past two years, we believe that the actual budget deficit of the next year would be about 550 trillion rials,” Adel Azar told the state TV on Saturday night.

Speaking about the budget sources, Azar said: one of the government’s basic sources of revenue is tax, for which the government has a somewhat realistic estimation in the next year’s budget bill.

Another source is the oil revenues, for which once again the estimated figures are appropriate, however, the important point regarding the oil revenues is about the withdrawals from the National Development Fund (NDF), a part (16 percent) of which the government has considered as frozen. This part should be revised and returned, the official added.

Iran’s next budget bill has been set based on the prediction of selling one million barrels of oil at $50 per barrel, however, many believe that due to the U.S. sanctions on the country’s oil industry Iranian government will not be able to realize this prediction, so many predict a great budget deficit for the next calendar year.

Earlier on Saturday, Mohammad Amirzadeh, deputy head of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA), said the government can compensate the probable deficits in the next year’s development budget by selling stocks and assets.

Earlier this month, President Hassan Rouhani submitted the administration’s draft of the national budget bill for the next Iranian calendar year 1399, which starts on March 20, 2020, to the Majlis.

The proposed budget amounted to about 19.88 quadrillion rials (about $473.3 billion at the official rate of 42,000 rials), with a 14-percent rise from the current year’s approved budget.

The bill has estimated the government’s budget at 5.63 quadrillion rials (about $134.04 billion), 8.2 percent higher than the figure in the present year’s budget.

According to the submitted bill, revenues from exporting oil, gas and gas condensate are estimated at 454.9 trillion rials (about $10.83 billion), down 66 percent from 1.37 quadrillion rials (about $32.61 billion) approved in the current year’s budget.

The government has envisioned various strategies for compensating the next year’s budget deficit due to the fall in oil revenues.

Transferring government’s assets, using forex reserves, selling Islamic bonds, and withdrawing 450 trillion rials (about $10.714 billion) from National Development Fund were among the strategies approved by the country’s Supreme Council of Economic Coordination.



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