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ICCIMA and Transparency in Business
Economy, Domestic Economy

ICCIMA and Transparency in Business

Bureaucracy and graft are seen as some of the primary reasons undermining business and pushing entrepreneurs and investors further away. It has also saddled productive sectors of the economy, which are not far too many, with extra and unwanted manufacturing and trading costs. However, the private sector could and should do its share to underpin the determination and resolve to tackle this predicament.
The Persian daily Donyaye Eghtesad in talks with members of the Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA) discussed the role of chambers in helping curb corruption and move towards a business-friendly climate.
Masoud Daneshmand, representing Iran Economy House, Mohsen Haji Baba, a member of the ICCIMA board of representatives, Abbas Vatanparvar, a member of the industry committee of Tehran Chamber of Commerce (TCCIMA), and Abbas Pourghazi shared their views with the Persian-language economic newspaper.
According to Daneshmand the decline in much-needed investments is due to high levels of corruption, and promoting accountability and openness is the only realistic solution to the lingering problem. The interviewees agreed that strong measures must be taken against corrupt officials within the ICCIMA regardless of their position.
Chambers of commerce normally are in charge of aiding the government in commercial and economic issues; however, they seem to be practically incapable or unwilling to voice bjections and observations to the relevant legal bodies or judicial authority, the paper noted. “Frequent calls by the TCCIMA for reducing import tariffs as a way to check smuggling have fallen on deaf ears,” it complained.
According to Daneshmad, “The present system is centered around individuals and lacks transparency.”
He said the chamber does not effectively play its role of representing the private sector in the government.  “The members do not have a say in selecting the secretary general, the chamber cannot revoke business licenses, or set tariffs as it used to back in 1941; nor does it have the legal authority to report violations to the ministry of justice.”
The current administrative structure of the chamber was founded in 1991 by the Majlis. Back then, the system worked for a nation of 40 million with few economic organizations. The present system, however, cannot deal with the complexities of today’s business affairs, the daily argued.

 Invisible  
Vatanparvar questioned the inaction toward corruption that has been prevalent for long saying that the chamber’s almost absent supervision over illegal imports has “fuelled corruption and the chamber has shown little or no interest in following up the matter in spite of the efforts by the members to issue some joint statements calling for legal measures.”
Haji Baba, for his part, highlighted that “the chamber has no power to deal with corruption under current circumstances except for issuing statements since the chamber cannot propose bills to Majlis,” adding that “the opinions of ICCIMA committees are not heard by the general director.” He went on to say that the chamber’s duties are presently limited to advising in the implementation of relevant state laws and regulations.
Observers believe government downsizing together with effective incorporation of the private sector in trade and financial matters could help decrease corruption as the ICCIMA is interested more in active monitoring and regulating economic affairs.
Digitizing administrative procedures can help eliminate corruption in paperwork. Simplifying administrative bureaucracy and regulations in addition to unifying foreign exchange rates and triggering competition where monopoly exists can also be helpful as preventive measures. Information rent (rent-seeking arising from insider information) is another key contributing factor to corruption that should be tackled by, among other things, prohibiting instantaneous decision-making, Pourghazi suggested.
Vatanparvar stressed that the private sector cannot assume the responsibilities of the government in executing the law, and must start by modifying its own structure in the first place. Echoing his remarks, Pourghazi said tackling corruption is not possible only through legal means; rather it has to be done by giving more authority to technical committees of ICCIMA and supporting meritocracy.

 

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