Ahmadinejad presents budget bill amid growing criticism
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad submitted the proposed Rls 229 billion annual budget bill for the next Iranian calendar year (starting March 21, 2007) to the Islamic Consultative Assembly (Majlis-Parliament) Sunday.
The proposed budget bill for the next year, the second to be submitted to the Majlis by Ahmadinejad, shows a 19.6 percent increase over the bill for the current year.
According to IRNA, during the Majlis open session, presided over by Speaker Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel, the MPs were briefed by the president on the outlines of his proposed budget bill.
Now, the Majlis will study the bill and propose necessary amendments in accordance with the views of the majority of the MPs. The MPs too would have 10 days to study the proposed budget bill and inform the budget commission of the Majlis of their expert opinion.
Ahmadinejad presented the bill amid growing dissatisfaction over his economic policy. This was partly reflected in the recent local government elections and elections for the Assembly of Experts as candidates closely identified with the president did poorly.
One major problem in Iran is the high unemployment rate, especially among university graduates. Unofficial estimate speak about a 30 percent unemployment rate.
Iran's deputy minister of labor has recently said unemployment is still the "biggest challenge" for the national economy. Indeed, under the Fourth Development Plan (2005-2010) Law some 5 million new jobs should be created, reported Fars. However, this goal seems unrealistic taking into account also the growing international pressure on Iran.
Ahmadinejad's government has been criticized for its not viable target. "The government has painted idealistic goals like tackling housing problems and unemployment . . . but no solution has been offered," Mohammad Khoshchehreh, a prominent conservative lawmaker, told The Associated Press.