10 million high-income people may be excluded from cash payments

TEHRAN – Many Iranians have given up receiving cash handouts in the second phase of the subsidy reform plan, the Iranian finance and economic affairs minister said on Tuesday.

Statistics indicate that not a large number of people have applied so far for receiving cash subsidies, economy minister Ali Tayyebnia said, while addressing an open session of the parliament.

Registration for identifying families, who are eligible for receiving cash subsidy, started on April 9 and will run till April 20.

On February 16, Iranian MPs approved a bill, according to which cash payments in the second phase of the subsidy reform plan will only be given to low-income families.

The parliament gave the administration authority to decide the amount of cash subsidy payments that will be given to the target groups.

The administration of former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad implemented the first stage of the subsidy reform plan toward the end of 2010 in an attempt to wean the country off food and fuel subsidies.

Currently, 45,500 rials (about $18) is paid to Iranians to compensate for a partial cut of subsidies for fuel and some other basic commodities.

It is estimated that the government will acquire 480 trillion rials (about $19.3 billion) in the current Iranian calendar year in revenues through the implementation of the second phase of the subsidy reform plan.

In November 2013, President Hassan Rouhani’s chief of staff, Mohammad Nahavandian, said the administration would not cut cash subsidies to rich families since identifying such families would be a kind of breach of their privacy.

“There are two substitute methods. The first is that the affluent families voluntarily stop receiving the subsidies. And the second is that the administration creates more jobs for people,” Nahavandian said.

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