Gov't-Majlis Coop. Key to Economic Development

Gov't-Majlis Coop. Key to Economic Development
Gov't-Majlis Coop. Key to Economic Development

President Hassan Rouhani says responding to demands of the people can and will be possible only with coordination among the three branches of government, namely the government and parliament.

"One main demand of the people, apart from political and cultural issues, is resolving economic problems," Rouhani said during a fast-breaking feast of Iftar with government officials and parliamentarians, according to his website.

Rouhani said devoting efforts to help ease economic concerns is high on the agenda of his government, for which it has "comprehensive plans to keep inflation in check, pull the country out of recession and move toward economic regeneration."

The country needs domestic and foreign investment to revive the economy and create prosperity, he said. "The business climate should improve to attract investment."

Although Iran's ranking in the World Bank's ease of doing business has improved from 153 to 118, but the Majlis and government need to do more to remove cumbersome rules and  regulations and curb bureaucracy, the president told the meeting .

He pointed to problems in the critical banking sector as another obstacle to economic recovery, saying the government will unveil a roadmap in the coming days to cut loan interest rates and enable banks to give more loans to domestic businesses.

 ***Inequality Concerns

Rouhani also touched on the recent revelations about unusually high salaries to some high-ranking government executives, saying he welcomes the disclosure of "unfair and inequitable" salaries to a selected few.

"Remunerations should be in proportion to the benefits provided to the society," he said. "To solve this problem, we have started employing measures and we will continue them until the end."

The unusually high pay of top managers at banks and some state-owned companies were publicized in recent weeks sparking public outrage, especially on social media.

The revelations have swayed the top brass to move swiftly to control the damage and forced chief executives of several banks and institutions out of office.

The president has tasked his vice president, Es'haq Jahangiri, to form a task force to address inequality concerns and curb excessive salaries that were dozens of times the average workers' pay.

Rouhani said such problems exist in most state institutions and not just the government and "all branches of power should help in tackling the challenge."  

The Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has called the scandal an "assault on values" and parliament is also considering measures with lawmakers conducting a probe of their own.

*** Need to Restore Trust

Earlier in the meeting, Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani made a speech, in which he said the Majlis and government should move toward greater "convergence" to help overcome economic problems and contribute to the settlement of Middle East conflicts.

"In view of the unfolding [regional] challenges and the role Iran should play in the region in the future, the government and parliament should try to improve cooperation and coordination."

On the executive pay scandal, Larijani said taking a tough line is needed to restore people's trust in the government.  

"I think we should use this opportunity to initiate structural reforms in the management [system]."