Week in Brief 27.09.2019

Spotify provides its services in Iran too; good news for Iranians who wish to listen to music or Iranian singers who want to publish their albums on Spotify.

Until now, accessing Spotify with an Iranian IP was not possible and the users in Iran must have opened Spotify through a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to hide their IPs.

However, since Saturday this limitation has been lifted by Spotify and the online service is accessible with an Iranian IP.

Many other online service providers have blocked their services to Iranian IPs, such as Netflix, Amazon, etc. This is clear that there is no official payment channel from Iran to these websites, however, only accessing these websites with an Iranian IP is not possible either.

Ministry of Industry, Mines and Trade will be divided into two new ministries; Industry and Mines, and the Ministry of Trade, the Parliament has approved this week.

The Industry Ministry has merged and divided for eight times in the past 50 years. The proposal of dividing this ministry for the last time was sent to the Parliament three years ago and was rejected several times until it got an approval.

This is while the private sector criticizes this division and believes that it will not lead to any improvement neither in trade nor in production.

Several members of Iran Chamber of Commerce have expressed their opposition to this decision. Pedram Soltani, Vice President of Iran Chamber of Commerce believes that the Parliament has approved this proposal not because it is convinced of any benefits in this change, but only because the government has been insisting for three years. “If there was any good point in it, why they have rejected it so many times previously”, asks Mr Soltani.  

Other members of Iran Chamber of Commerce add that when the two ministries were merged eight years ago, the goal was to create more harmony and reduce the unnecessary bureaucracy for both producers and traders. Now that the goal has not been reached, instead of solving the problem, we are just erasing it by going backward.

The Ministry of Energy launched a project to eliminate all paper-bills for electricity within three months. The preparation started in June and all the subscribers were asked to register their mobile number to receive their bills electronically.

The Ministry of Energy says that by now 96 percent of subscribers have been registered and it is expected to reach 98 percent by the end of October 2019.

As a surprise the project was very welcomed in rural and non-developed areas in the country. For instance, in Sistan and Baluchestan province, the poorest province of Iran, the coverage has reached 99 percent.

By elimination of electricity paper-bills annually 25000 trees will be saved. It also annually saves 37.5 million USD for the country.