Iranian parliament overwhelmingly approved the outline of the budget for the next Iranian year, despite criticism from MPs of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s economic policies.In a late evening session, deputies approved the macro-economic revenue and expenditure figures underpinning the budget with 136 MPs voting in favor, 67 against and 13 abstentions.
The parliament will now debate the various sectors of expenditure, where they can still demand that the government shifts spending from one area to another.
There could also still be disputes over the question of imposing dual pricing or rationing to control Iran’s rampant petrol consumption which forces OPEC’s number two producer to import 30 million liters of refined oil a day.
Parliament has appeared determined to impose some limit on the costly consumption of state-subsidized fuel, but the government bitterly opposes any major price hikes at the pumps.
The relatively smooth passage of the budget bill outline came despite criticism by a number of reformist and conservative MPs of the 2,290 trillion Rial (248 billion dollar) budget for the year starting March 21.
The budget, announced by Ahmadinejad in January, foresees a 19.6 percent rise on expenditure compared to this year.