Majlis may amend law on gasoline pricing scheme

The new Iranian Parliament may amend a law passed two months ago to introduce a two-tier pricing scheme for gasoline.

Hossein Amiri-Khamkami, the deputy head of Majlis Energy Commission, said the parliament is open to consider bids to revise the legislation for gasoline prices that would “undermine economic transparency and spark off corruption”, IRNA reported.

Iran’s previous conservative parliament signed into law a bill in April that mandates the government to set two prices for gasoline: a base price and a higher price that kicks in when consumers exceed a specific consumption cap.

The legislation was a setback for the moderate government of President Hassan Rouhani who had unified gasoline prices in May 2015 and was severely criticized by Oil Ministry and pro-government figures. But the newly-formed Majlis, which is made up of lawmakers with more moderate affiliations, seems to have a different take on the issue of gasoline prices.

“Setting two price points for gasoline is a backward step,” Amiri-Khamkami said. “Having two prices for certain commodities such as gasoline hasn’t worked out well in the past, and it will prepare the ground for corruption.”

Based on the legislation, the government must issue electronic fuel cards for all light and heavy vehicles that burn gasoline or use a dual-fuel engine, within four months after the law was approved. Prominent figures have been outspoken in opposiing the new law that will also give a fresh lifeline to the disputed electronic fuel cards introduced during the tenure of former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad nine years ago. According to government spokesperson, Mohammad Baqer Nobakht, and Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, maintaining fuel cards will trigger corruption.

By Financial Tribune