Economy, Business And Markets

Iran Biggest Cement Producer in Region

Iran Biggest Cement Producer in RegionIran Biggest Cement Producer in Region

Thirty major cement plants are under construction across the country with more than 20% physical progress, the Minister of Industry, Mine, and Trade, Mohamamd-Reza Nematzadeh said at a meeting in Semnan Province, ISNA reported on Friday.

He highlighted Iran's position as the biggest cement producer in the region, saying the sector has great capacities for export and production. Meanwhile, he noted that regional security concerns in countries such as Iraq have undermined cement exports.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Nematzadeh referred to stringent regulations that hinder the performance of the manufacturing sector.

"Lack of liquidity, low cash flow, bureaucracy, complexities in international relations and old technology and equipment," were cited by the minister as among major problems hurting the manufacturing sector, adding that the administration and his ministry in particular have proposed bills over the past year to reduce the problems.

Referring to the high taxes on production, Nematzadeh said: "Unlike the tax collected from the consumers, the tax from manufacturers is not meant to account for a major part of government's revenues; however, producers still bear the heavy burden."

The minister described steel projects to be launched in the next Iranian calendar year (to start March 21) as outstanding achievements of the administration.

The minister also criticized the banks for not living up to their commitments in providing loans for industrial projects, noting that except for the Export Development Bank of Iran and the Bank of Industry and Mine, all other state-owned and private banks have been unable to meet their commitments.

Nematzadeh predicted that non-oil exports would increase by at least 15-20 percent in the upcoming year, recalling that exports recorded 24% growth during the first ten months of the current year (a period ended January 20) compared to the similar period last year.

"Petrochemicals top the list of non-oil exports while we are planning to increase the export of base metals, automobiles, food products, and construction materials," said the minister, encouraging manufacturers to produce goods which are in demanded in the neighboring countries.

During his one-day trip to Semnan, Nematzadeh also paid a visit to a bus manufacturing plant which operates under the license of the Swedish brand Scania. The company plans to export buses to neighboring and regional countries.      

The minister called on the private sector to endure the hardship and difficulties caused by economic sanctions against the country (by UN Security Council over its nuclear energy program), "until the situation improves, following a possible lifting of sanctions if and when a nuclear deal is reached."