Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad presented a delayed budget bill to parliament on Sunday, urging lawmakers to swiftly approve a package he said would continue his drive to reduce social inequality.
The draft budget for the next Iranian year, which begins on March 21, was around $177 billion, he said. In addition to that, the budget for state-affiliated companies was $362 billion. Last year the total budget amounted to $368 billion.
In an address which was bigger on political rhetoric than financial detail, Ahmadinejad told parliament his government aimed to reduce Iran's reliance on oil income and push ahead with a major subsidy phase-out which has already begun.
"One of the characteristics of the budget is to narrow the gap between social classes," he said in a speech broadcast live on television.
Relations between president and parliament have become increasingly strained in recent years, particularly over budget matters.
Some Iranian media reported that late delivery of the draft budget would leave little time for parliamentary scrutiny.
Ahmadinejad said the new budget was "transparent, integrated and simple", adding that the government did not expect the parliament to alter the bill.
Ahmadinajad's vice president in charge of parliamentary affairs, Mohammad Reza Mirtajeddini said the delay was partly parliament's fault because it took too long debating a five-year government plan setting overarching policy aims for the period 2010-2015.
Despite economic sanctions imposed over its disputed nuclear programme, Ahmadinejad said Iran's non-oil exports were increasing and would be more than $30 billion this Iranian year.
Central Bank statistics issued in October said non-oil exports in 2008-9 were worth $17.7 bln.
ReutersGüncelleme Tarihi: 20 Şubat 2011, 16:18