India oil imports from Iran fall 27%

Updated 25 April 2013
0

India oil imports from Iran fall 27%

NEW DELHI: India’s import of crude oil from Iran slid by 27 percent in the last financial year as US and European sanctions made it harder to ship fuel from the Islamic republic, a report said.
India imported 13.3 million tons of crude oil from Iran in the financial year ended March 31, down from 18.1 million tons shipped in the previous year, the Press Trust of India reported, quoting official sources.
The decline in Indian imports was sharper than for Iran’s other two big buyers, China and South Korea, as New Delhi struggled with payment and insurance problems.
The US and EU have shut down use of their financial systems for payment for Iranian crude, in the hope of starving Tehran of cash and forcing it to give up its alleged nuclear weapons program.
Iran says its nuclear program is for civilian purposes.
India cannot deposit dollars or euros in any foreign bank for importing crude from Iran because of the sanctions, while insurance companies are refusing to cover refineries that use oil from the nation.
Iran was India’s second-biggest crude oil supplier after Saudi Arabia in 2010-11 but is now its sixth-largest, behind Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Venezuela, Kuwait and the UAE, the news agency said.
India, which relies on imports for 79 percent of its oil needs, bought a total of 182.5 million tons of crude in 2012-13, up from 171.7 million tons in the previous year.
India, the world’s fourth-largest oil importer, has been walking a diplomatic tightrope as it pursues good ties with Tehran, while deepening relations with the US.
Under the sanctions, Iranian crude customers such as India have been restricted to using their own currencies for purchases.
Importers are being compelled to keep the payments in escrow accounts that Iran can use only for locally sourced goods and services, in what amount to barter arrangements.


Jordanian cabinet approves new IMF-guided tax law to boost finances

Updated 21 May 2018
0

Jordanian cabinet approves new IMF-guided tax law to boost finances

AMMAN: Jordan’s cabinet on Monday approved major IMF-guided proposals that aim to double the income tax base, as a key part of reforms to boost the finances of a debt-burdened economy hit by regional conflict.
“When only 4 percent of Jordanians pay (personal) income tax, this may not be the right thing,” Finance Minister Omar Malhas said in remarks after the cabinet meeting, adding the goal was to push that to eight percent. The draft legislation was submitted to parliament.
The IMF’s three-year Extended Fund Facility program aims to generate more state revenue to gradually bring down public debt to 77 percent of GDP in 2021, from a record 95 percent.
A few months ago Jordan raised levies on hundreds of food and consumer items by unifying general sales tax (GST) to 16 percent — removing exemptions on many basic goods.
In January subsidies on bread were ended, doubling some prices in a country with rising unemployment and poverty among its eight million people.
The income tax move and the GST reforms will bring an estimated 840 million dinars ($1.2 billion) in extra annual tax revenue that will help reduce chronic budget shortfalls normally covered by foreign aid, officials say.
Corporate income tax on banks, financial institutions and insurance companies will be pushed to 40 percent from 30 percent. Taxes on Jordan’s phosphate and potash mining industry will be raised to 30 percent from 24.
The government argues the reforms will reduce social disparities by progressively taxing high earners while leaving low-paid public sector employees largely untouched.
“This is a fair tax law not an unfair one,” said Malhas, who shrugged off criticism the law is lenient on many businesses connected to politicians whose transactions are not subject to tax scrutiny.
Husam Abu Ali, the head of the Income and Sales Tax Department, said a proposed IMF-recommended Financial Crime Investigations Unit will stiffen penalties for tax evaders. Critics say it will not tackle pervasive corruption in state institutions.
Abu Ali said the government could be losing hundreds of millions of dollars through tax evasion, which is as high as 80 percent in some companies.
The amendments lower the income tax threshold and raise tax rates. Unions said the government was caving in to IMF demands and squeezing more from the same taxpayers.
“It is penalizing a group that has long paid what it owes the state,” the unions syndicate said in a statement.
“It imposes injustice on employees whose salaries have barely coped with price hikes rising madly in recent years.”