The Iranian parliament (Majlis) on 19 April approved the 2016-17 draft budget which starts on 20 March, raising spending under the general budget significantly, but slightly lowering the allocations for state-owned entities from the projections originally presented by President Hassan Rohani on 17 January (MEES, 22 January).

The increase in general budget spending will concern the cash-strapped government, already struggling to meet its fiscal obligations. Although the general budget is usually balanced in the final budget bill, fiscal deficits have risen in past years as sanctions hit government revenues. Last year’s budget had a deficit of $13bn, according to Mohammad Baqer Nobakht, head of the Management and Planning Organization. (CONTINUED - 596 WORDS)