Kayhan Int’l Political Desk
TEHRAN -- A group of Iranian producers, entrepreneurs and economic activists met here Tuesday night with Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.
The Leader’s speech and details of the meeting will be covered in our Thursday issue.
The meeting came in the wake of the government’s decision to hike petrol prices. Ayatollah Khamenei on Sunday threw his support behind the decision, but called on Iranians to distance themselves from "hooligans" who are manipulating protests to damage public property.
Gasoline in Iran still remains among the cheapest in the world despite a price hike of 50 percent, which went into effect on Friday.
"The heads of power branches have sat down and made a decision supported by experts. The decision must be implemented," the Leader said on Sunday.
The petrol price increase is a calculated means of making the economy more efficient, and switching resources to the poor.
The rise is intended to raise about $2.5 billion a year for additional subsidies for 18 million families, or about 60 million Iranians on lower incomes, the government said.
The proposal had been recommended by the International Monetary Fund as a way of ending inefficient petrol subsidies and rebalancing government spending. Iran has some of the cheapest retail petrol prices in the world partly due to high subsidies. Fuel subsidies cost 1.6% of GDP in 2017-18.
Muhammad Baqer Nobakht, the head of the Plan and Budget Organization of Iran, has said about 60 million people out of the 82 million population would get an extra monthly bonus to compensate for the rise in petrol prices.