Ehsan Khandouzi, the Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance of Iran

Iran’s Economy Minister Admits Families Struggling To Afford Bread

Wednesday, 12/13/2023

Many Iranians are unable to afford the bread they need amid the ongoing economic crisis, Tehran’s economy minister has admitted.

With inflation estimated to around 50 percent, Ehsan Khandouzi said he hopes for a future where vulnerable groups can meet their daily needs without anyone going to bed hungry.

But acknowledging the current situation is dire for many families, he said: "Some individuals in the country cannot even afford to buy three loaves of bread."

As the nation grapples with an inflation rate exceeding 46 percent, the Iranian government has proposed a 20 percent pay raise for civil servants in the upcoming calendar year, commencing on March 21.

Economic experts view the modest salary increase as a strategic move to control expenditures and avoid a higher budget deficit, currently estimated at a minimum of 50 percent. A report from the parliament’s research center suggests that this year's budget deficit may reach $13.5 billion, constituting 30 percent, while independent analysts believe the actual deficit could be closer to half of the budget.

The proposed pay raise has raised concerns among workers, particularly civil servants and those employed in companies owned by or linked to the government. With annual inflation at staggering levels, simply affording basic necessities has become an increasing challenge for many people.

The economic crisis in Iran has fueled anti-regime protests and workers' strikes since 2017. Ongoing economic challenges are perceived as a significant factor behind the discontent, especially among the younger population.

Official figures from the Statistics Center of Iran (SCI) and the Central Bank indicate an annual inflation rate of 45.5 percent. However, experts caution that these numbers may be underreported. Independent reports reveal that food prices have surged much faster than the official inflation rate, with some items experiencing a 100-percent increase in 2022.

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