0205 GMT November 28, 2020
Through the appropriate distribution of essential goods in the domestic market, price hikes resulting from the Iranian government’s move to ration gasoline can be prevented, said an Iranian MP.
On November 15, 2019, the Iranian government introduced gasoline rationing and price hikes of at least 50 percent.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Iran Daily, Ahmad Anaraki-Mohammadi, a member of the Iranian Parliament’s Economic Committee, added that Iran annually allocates $14 billion in foreign currency at the official rate of 42,000 rials per dollar for importing essential goods.
He said that distribution of essential goods imported using the foreign currency resources made available at the official rate in the domestic market has been faced with a number of problems, noting that certain factors, such as brokerage, have led to increases in the prices of goods.
Greater care is required when purchasing essential goods and distributing them to the people given the implementation of the gasoline rationing plan and the possible inflation that might occur as a result of the rise in the price of fuel, the lawmaker stressed.
At present, the Iranian Parliament and government are determined to prevent hikes in market prices in light of the emphasis placed by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on the same issue, he noted.
Anaraki-Mohammadi said the Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani has assigned a mission to the Economic Committee to work out a solution for controlling prices by holding meetings with the country’s ministers and members of the supervisory organizations.
“This mission is currently being performed.”
Nevertheless, he added that controlling prices is not possible by solely issuing directives and tightening supervision.
“There are 3,000 trade units in the country. It is almost impossible to regularly control and supervise all of these units. We should look for economic solutions to organize the domestic market, achieve balance in supply and demand and, thus, be able to control the prices of goods.”
The MP stressed that the people’s role should not be overlooked in this area, adding that the people are also required to join hands with the government and play a supervisory role to facilitate and accelerate controlling prices.
“They should inform the government and other supervisory organizations of illegal and unjustified price increases and refrain from purchasing products that are sold at unreasonable prices.”
On the other hand, the government must do its best to guarantee the timely payment of the monthly subsidies, which are generated from the increase in the price of gasoline, to poor families and ensure that all those in need of financial assistance will receive it, he said.
Anaraki-Mohammadi noted that based on the government’s decision, 18 million Iranian families (about 60 million individuals) are eligible to receive the financial assistance.
Since some of these individuals have not yet managed to receive their subsidies, efforts are required to identify those entitled to the assistance and grant them the subsidies as soon as possible, he emphasized.
“Normally, hikes in gasoline prices does not impact those of other products in many countries. However, since our economy is highly dependent on oil and its byproducts, and the prices of gasoline and major foreign currencies have a direct relationship with each other, an increase in one can immediately impact the inflation rate and prices of other goods.”
He said in countries where prices have been liberalized and no subsidy is paid on fuel, the rise in gasoline price does not affect other commodities.
On the other hand, if wages and salaries are raised simultaneously with, and in proportion to, the rise in the price of gasoline and other products, the problems in this field would be resolved, Anaraki-Mohammadi noted.