Haji Babaee’s harsh words about lack of transparency regarding subsidies


[Hamid-Reza Haji Babaee, former Education Minister and current lawmaker, is criticizing lack of transparency regarding ‘targeted subsidies’ and the way government is spending the money that is saved through this plan.]

 Haji Babaee asks question from officials: How much do you pay to people [as cash subsidies]? 35,000 billion tomans each year, which will be 45,500 tomans to each. This is your cost. But what is your income? [They say] ‘Nothing. Just the same amount. Just the same amount.’

He does the math about the gasoline revenue: How many millions of liters of gasoline do you sell per day? They have said that we are selling 73 million liters of gasoline. What is the price difference between the day the gasoline price was ratified and today? It was 100 tomans then. How much is it now? It is 1,000 tomans and 1,200 tomans. What is the average? It is 1,071. Now 73 million multiplied by 971 multiplied by 365. It will be 26,000 billion tomans for just one item. And there are 9 items: fuel oil, kerosene, gas oil, CNG, water and electricity. Now how much is ‘45,000 tomans’ worth now? 8,000 tomans. Now tell me. How much is the gasoline worth? It was 100 tomans and it is 1,000 tomans now.

Haji Babaee continues: And when you complain, they say ‘We are paying you too much.’ Why do you treat people like this? Many times we have announced, ‘Great people of Iran, we saved 80 million tomans by targeted subsidy plan.’ Our dear officials published a report in the newspapers. It said it is only 31. And then Researched Center [of the parliament] expressed its view that it is 87,000 billion tomans. Well, it is all confusion and unlawfulness.

He says the income is partially deposited into Iran’s Treasury: We have taken 87,000 billion tomans from the people. We have deposited only 36,000 billion tomans into the Treasury. We have not deposited [the other] 50,000 billion tomans. And no one has swindled the money. They have made it and spent it.

Haji Babaee is implicitly pointing to corruption in this regard: And when someone is going to spend the money he has made himself, then he gives 1 billion tomans away as bonus. Now we say, ‘Sir, when you take 87,000 billion tomans from people, and we make water and electricity more expensive, deposit this money into the Treasury and then withdraw from the Treasury. How can you make this money and not deposit it into the Treasury?’ We are not suspicious or doubtful of anyone. And let’s say they have spent this money for Dua Tawassol.