Mahmoud Ahmadinejad presented Parliament with his budget for the next Iranian calendar year after a delay of nearly two months.
Iranian media report that more than 46 MPs spoke out against the president’s lengthy delay.
Tehran MP Ahmad Tavakoli told the session that the delay will pose a great obstacle to passing the budget in time for the coming year. The Iranian New Year begins March 21.
House Speaker Ali Larijani, while recognizing that the administration has violated parliamentary regulations, announced that Parliament will make every effort to review and process the budget at soon as possible.
Ahmadinejad spoke in praise of his government’s record, saying: “The country has grown and progressed, and economic growth apart from oil revenues has reached over 7.3 percent.”
He insisted that Iran is in good economic condition, citing “the expansion of construction activities” and “9 percent growth in the agriculture sector” and “the successful functioning of the Iranian stock exchange.”
He also announced that the administration has reduced its budget cap by six percent for the coming year.
Ahmadinejad said his budget’s goals are reduced dependence on oil exports, the creation of 2.5 million jobs and the promotion of social justice.
Finally, he called on MPs to work double shifts in order to pass the budget.
His last statement drew fire from MPs, and the head of Parliament criticized the government for its violation of procedures.
Larijani announced that Parliament had foreseen the government delays, recognizing that the MPs are pressed for time in processing the new budget. He maintained, however, that they will overlook the administration’s violation and make every effort to pass the budget in time in the best interests of the country.