BEIRUT

Regional

Iran to stop cash handouts to millions of citizens

Iran will stop paying monthly cash handouts to citizens who don’t need the aid, Shargh reported Sunday, citing a member of parliament.

The change will be implemented in the new Iranian year starting March 21 and will appear in the budget draft that President Hassan Rouhani’s government plans to submit by Dec. 21, said Ali Mohammad Ahmadi, a member of the assembly’s planning and budgetary committee, according to the Tehran-based newspaper.

The decision to cut monthly handouts to several million Iranians will still fulfill the initial goal of the subsidy reform plan and better safeguard the nation’s resources, Shargh said. Rouhani, who started his term earlier this month, has pledged to revive an economy battered by international sanctions and marked by a weakened national currency and an inflation nearing 38 percent.

Iran started a five-year plan in 2010 under former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s government, phasing out energy and food subsidies and replacing them with cash payments to make up for rising costs. While the plan aimed to target Iranians in need of aid, all those who enrolled became eligible and some 75 million people are receiving payments, Shargh said.

Iran’s population is 76.8 million according to the data on the website of Iran’s Statistics Center. The government makes monthly payment of 455,000 rials ($18) to each eligible Iranian.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on August 26, 2013, on page 5.

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