Iran’s Minister of Economy Shamsodin Hosseini told reporters in Tehran today that the government’s subsidy reform program’s monthly cash payouts have been critical in maintaining the purchasing power of nearly 80 percent of the population [Fars News Agency, 3 December].
The government hands out an estimated $3.3 billion per month to nearly 73 million citizens, 95 percent of the population, or $45 per person per month. The payouts are meant to soften the blow of the removal of government subsidies of energy and food products and the resulting rising inflation rate, officially reported at 20 percent.
The minister was defending these monthly payouts as the reason nearly 80 percent of the people could still cope with lack of subsidies and the rising prices.
Iran's oil revenues are expected to hit $100 billion this year (the Iranian calendar year ending on 20 March). The historic high level of oil revenues can sustain the monthly cash payouts for months to come.