Iran's $ 524bn budget to boost industries, curb inflation

Iran`s $ 524bn budget to boost industries, curb inflation Tehran: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad submitted to Majlis (Parliament) a 5,390-trillion-rial (about USD 524 billion) budget bill for the next Iranian calendar year that is to start on March 21.

Ahmadinejad told Majlis on Sunday that his government is aiming to reduce Iran's reliance on oil income, and push ahead with a major subsidy phase-out. Moreover, he said one of the characteristics of the budget is to overcome inflation, poverty and unemployment.

The president briefed the lawmakers on specific characteristics of the budget bill, saying the next year's budget allocated over 475 trillion rials to development projects.

Ahmadinejad urged lawmakers to swiftly approve the package of measures, so he can continue what he refers to as his drive to reduce social inequality.

The budget bill for the new Iranian calendar year encompasses measures that give Ahmadinejad the mandate to promote his major economic plans.

The budget will mainly depend on oil and gas exports which constitute most of the government revenue as of previous years.

The draft budget for the next Iranian year, which begins on March 21, was around USD 172 billion, he said. In addition to that, the budget for state-affiliated companies was USD 352 billion. Last year the total budget amounted to USD 368 billion.

"One of the characteristics of the budget is to narrow the gap between social classes," he said in a speech broadcast live on television.

Ahmadinejad said the new budget was "transparent, integrated and simple," adding that the government did not expect the parliament to alter the bill.