ECONOMY

Despite protests, Iran raises prices of water, electricity and gas

People protest in Tehran, Iran December 30, 2017. (Reuters)

While the protests across Iran continue against rising prices and the drop in living conditions, the Iranian parliament has agreed to increase water, electricity and gas costs during Iran's next year's budget, which starts on March 21 according to the Persian calendar.

The decision comes after a long debate aimed at filling the budget deficit as the iranian parliament agreed to raise prices in line with Iran's Sixth Development Plan, which states that water and electricity costs could increase by 20 to 30 percent annually.

The House of Representatives voted on Wednesday for the proposal of the Ministry of Energy following the approval of the Council of Ministers on raising prices of water, electricity and gas next year.

"In cases where decisions are made to increase the cost of water, electricity and gas for government companies in accordance with the laws and regulations, such projects are only proposed by an approved bill from the concerned ministry and with the agreement of the Council of Ministers," said Ali Asghar Yousef Nejad, a spokesman for the Iranian parliament's budget committee.

"Government debt is also paid via the private sector, non-governmental organizations and public cooperatives from government property, state-owned sectors and government institutions," he added.

Experts believe that rising inflation is another reason, in addition to the budget deficit, to increase the cost of water, electricity and gas, as inflation also increases the cost of producing these services.

In a report on the Iranian economy, the Research Center of the Iranian Parliament predicted that the rate of inflation is expected to reach 15 percent, which will lead to continued depreciation of the riyal against other currencies.

As the Iranian economy enters its sixth year of recession, according to official statistics, the government has raised taxes for the next budget.

The government is trying to compensate the budget deficit by collecting taxes from citizens who are already suffering from government austerity policy with the high prices and inflation.

Experts say that the pressure imposed by taxations on the industrial and services sectors will lead to increased unemployment and will deepen the crisis, as one of the main problems faced by employers today is the surge in taxes.

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Last Update: Thursday, 15 February 2018 KSA 15:48 - GMT 12:48
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