Covering the budget deficit by reducing the share of the National Development Fund
In a press conference, a spokesperson of Iran’s Government had denied the existence of any kind of deficit in the state budget, while a parliamentary deputy claimed that the government used sources of National Development Fund to cover the budget deficit by reducing the Fund’s share of oil income.
There are no accurate reports published until now about the income and expenses of the Islamic Republic government in 2015. However, there are varieties of reports indicating a deficit in the budget. In March of this year (the end of the Iranian solar year), Mohammad Baqer Noboukt, a spokesman on behalf of the government and the head of management and planning organization, have two contradicting views about how much the budget deficit. It was announced on 1 March during the celebration ceremony of launching the “comprehensive information system for state agencies property”, that the amount of the budget deficit is 45 thousand billion tomans. Noboukt added that the government was obligated to exploit sources other than its own major sources of income. A week later, in press conference held this on 8 March Nodoukt denied any news about deficit in the budget; he said, “This does not mean that we did not have deficit in the income, but we have a plan for expenses so we can continue in government projects without deficit.” Although he did not clarify more about the government planning and how they would find 45 thousand billion Tomans to cover expenses. Mr. Jafar Qaderi, a member of the Budget and Planning Committee in Parliament, said to the site News (Tabnak) that the government has covered the budget deficit by reducing the share of national development fund. According to the statements of the MP, the government is bound by the five-year development plan aiming at depositing 20% of oil income in the account of the National Development Fund. Moreover, even the 20% was reduced by the government to 10% rate in the past year. According to Qadri’s remarks, the government has taken this policy as part of plans for the current year, while the share of the national development fund for this year is supposed to reach 30%. Qadri considered that the price of oil that specified in the budget project is not real and said, “The government will face a problem because of this figure,” and added that the government’s optimism of oil prices will lead to a deficit in the budget.
Expenditure “Without Borders” of the National Development Funds’ balance
Previously, a spokesperson of the parliamentary economic committee, Rahim Zaree talked about the lack of deposit of the National Development Fund’s share received from the oil income by the government. He explained that the government had violated the law. That is, a sum of $ 2.5 billion has been allocated from the fund sources according to the second pack of anti-recession policies, to control the border waters and secure drinking waters to remote areas. Similarly, according to a report of Parliament Research Center, the government withdrew $ 1.5 billion directly from the fund last year. This year, and in draft of the budget, the government asked to withdraw 7.14 billion dollars (in draft of budget) from the sources of the fund.
Meanwhile, the government has demanded according to the proposed draft of the budget to allocate $ 6.5 billion the fund balance to increase banks’ capital, $ 400 million for the reconstruction of universities, and another $ 200 for increasing the capital of innovation and development fund.
According to Bour Ibrahimi, the Joint Committee agreed to withdraw $ 500 million from the fund to support agricultural development one.