Iran Sees Fuel Imports at $3.2bln in 2008-09

A011290232.jpgTEHRAN (FNA) Iranian government is predicting it will need about $3.2 bln for gasoline and petroleum imports in the budget for the Iranian year that starts in March.

A senior official suggested in October imports would decline at least 20 percent during the current Iranian year to about $4 bln worth of gasoline.

Iran imports large amounts of fuel, which it then sells at heavily subsidized prices. In a bid to curb soaring consumption, it introduced rationing in June.

The scheme has cut average daily consumption by 22 percent to 59 mln liters compared with the same period last year, the state oil refining and distribution firm said last month.

The monthly quota for private motorists was raised by 20 percent to 120 liters on Dec 22.

IRNA quoted Deputy Oil Minister Mohammad-Reza Nematzadeh as saying 30 trln rials (about $3.2 bln) had been set aside for gasoline and petroleum imports in the government’s budget proposal for the year that starts on March 21.

The government presented its budget proposal on Jan. 7.

All gasoline in Iran – whether produced locally or imported – is sold at the heavily subsidized price of 1,000 rials (about 11 US cents) a liter. This has burdened state coffers.

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