Parliament Approves Budget Bill Outlines

Parliament Approves Budget Bill Outlines
TEHRAN – The Iranian parliament (Majlis) on Sunday approved the outlines of the budget bill for the next Iranian year (March 2007-March 2008). Out of the 223 members of parliament present in the formal session, 136 MPs voted in favor of the bill, 67 MPs voted against the bill and 13 abstained.

Out of the 223 members of parliament present in the formal session, 136 MPs voted in favor of the bill, 67 MPs voted against the bill and 13 abstained.

The debate on the outlines of the budget bill took two days during which 54 MPs expressed their views both in favor and against the bill.

The Majlis by-law requires that the debate on a bill to hear views of 15 MPs supporting and 15 MPs opposing the bill.

The budget bill envisaged rls 2,313.5 billion (about $250 billion) both revenues and expenditures.

Some rls 688,397 billion of the revenues of the government will come from ceding the capital and financial assets to the public in line with the privatization program.

According to an mp, the proposed budget for next year will meet demands of the people, particularly the low-income class.

Addressing the open session of the Majlis, Tehran MP Fatemeh Alia said that unlike previous budgets proposed by past governments, the present budget bill puts emphasis on meeting the demands of low-income families. She said that it also gives great attention to the needs of the cultural sector.

MP from the western province of Hamedan, Ebrahim Karkhanei, speaking in support of the budget bill, called on fellow MPs to support the government of President Ahmadinejad in light of the increasing conspiracies of the US against Iran.

He said that he supported the bill as it "focuses on a justice-oriented, sustainable development which gives equal opportunities to people from all walks of Iranian society." The proposed budget shows a 19.6 percent increase over this year"s budget (1385).

The Majlis has 10 days to study the proposed budget and forward its proposals to the pertinent specialized commissions.

The expert committees are to submit their reports to the Budget Committee 10 days after considering various views and proposals.

After receiving the reports of the expert committees, the Budget Committee is to review them and give its final report to the Majlis within 15 days from receipt of the reports.

According to the constitution, the president proposes the budget and the Majlis either adopts it in its entirety or proposes necessary amendments.

Another lawmaker criticized the new budget bill for drastically cutting the country"s defense spending.

Reza Talaei-Nik, member of Parliament"s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, criticized the proposed budget for slashing defense spending by more than 8 percent at a critical time for Iran"s security.

"The [current] defense budget constitutes 17.3 percent of this year"s budget whereas the budget bill for next year has cut it to less than nine percent," he said.

The MP called on the Ahmadinejad administration to replace the proposed budget with a more "transparent" draft bill, saying the current draft contains major flaws which need to be addressed.

Talaei-Nik complained the budget will fail to control Iran"s inflation. He also claimed it didn"t "conform" to currently existing laws.

According to the MP, the bill doesn"t adhere to the goals of "Vision 2025", a high-profile 20-year national outlook manifesto.

Under Vision 2025, Iran hopes to become the top economic power in the region within two decades. Iran expects to implement four separate five-year development plans which will set economic benchmarks intended to gradually realize the goals of Vision 2025.

Talaei-Nik said the proposed bill also fails to address the latest reading of Article 44 of Iran"s Constitution, which requires large-scale privatization of state monopolies in an effort to boost the national economy.

Mar 5, 2007 12:29 |
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