“The implementation of the plan was scheduled to be achieved within five years, but only the first phase was completed over the past three years,” Rouhani said. He added that the second phase will start “within the next few days.” (IRNA, 19 April)
The reforms are designed to gradually cut government subsidies of energy, utilities and food. The government says it would save some $60 billion annually when the reforms are fully implemented.
Many economists have hailed the plan as a necessary step for fixing the subsidy-driven economy; but there are serious concerns that the end of subsidies would mean higher prices across the board, reversing the recent gains in controlling the country’s high inflation rate.