Domestic Economy

Economy Cannot Function in Shadow of Politics

Economy Cannot Function in Shadow of Politics
Economy Cannot Function in Shadow of Politics

Resolving the country’s economic issues is “not conceivable as long as the economy is overshadowed by politics,” the head of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture, Yahya Al-Es’haq said on Saturday, calling for unified action by government, parliament and the private sector to work out the economic problems.

The official made the remarks in a large gathering of businesspeople held in Tehran on Saturday to discuss the “parameters of a satisfactory chamber of commerce.” The event was attended by a number of high profile entrepreneurs and academicians.

His remarks follow the same line of argument as those of economic experts who believe Iran’s economy is highly affected by political volatilities at home. What the economists argue is that the decisions made by politicians are more often than not focused only on short-term advantages, without so much as caring how their decisions will affect the economy in the long run.

Pointing that Iran’s share in the global economy is merely 0.1 percent, Al- Es’haq described the current economic status as unsatisfactory, “given that Iran is located at the heart of the most influential region of the world, the Middle East.”

“Iran’s share in the global economy should reach one percent or more,” Al-Es’haq said, calling on the government to take necessary steps towards empowering the private sector.

Further emphasizing the need for supporting the private sector, the official pointed out that the 4% economic growth reported in the first 10 months of the current Iranian year (to end March 20) was mostly contributed by the government dominated industries such as the petrochemical sector, whereas the small and medium-sized private industries have not experienced similar positive growth.

Referring to “unemployment and economic problems” as two major concerns for Iranian people, he called for consensus between the government, parliament and the private sector to address major economic problems in the country.

Al-Es’haq also criticized the “forty-year-old delay” in fully implementing the provisions of Article 44 of the Constitution regarding privatization and said: “The entire nation counts on the Chamber of Commerce to move past the critical economic situation in the country.”

Iran has planned to privatize state-owned enterprises, in some form or another, since the late 1980s.  In July of 2006, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ali Khamenei issued a decree to accelerate the implementation of the country’s privatization law (known as Article 44) and called for 80% of state-owned assets to be turned over to the public sector.