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$24 billion dollar import will not affect production at home: Iranian Economy Minister

Source: Mehr News Agency

Economy Minister Shamseddin Hosseini said on Tuesday that a cabinet approval for import of basic goods at a value of 24 billion dollars in the current Iranian year (which began on March 20) will have "no negative effect" on domestic production.

First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi announced on Monday that the cabinet has approved a bill allocating 24 billion dollars for importation of basic goods such as rice, cooking oil, meat, rice, etc. The announcement came as food prices has started rising over the past few weeks.

The announcement faced some criticism by some economic experts and officials including Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the Expediency Council chief.

"In the past years, to regulate the market, we did such things (as well) and this point that some say this rate is more than the previous years in not correct," Hosseini told reporters after a cabinet meeting.

"This has been done in order to provide basic goods... and regulate the market and we will see its effect on modifying prices in the market in the future," he added.

Rafsanjani criticizes allocation of $24 billion to imports

Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani, the chairman of the Expediency Council, regrets the allocation of 24 billion dollars to importation of basic goods in the current Iranian year which has been designated the "year of national production".

By backing domestic businesses, Rafsanjani said, Iran has the potential to meet its needs to basic goods to a large extent.

"Why when we can meet these needs in home through supporting domestic production we turn to importation?" Rafsanjani asked in a meeting of the Popular Front for Reforms in Tehran on Tuesday.

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