Qalibaf Pledges to Address Economic Slump

Qalibaf Pledges to Address Economic SlumpQalibaf Pledges to Address Economic Slump

Presidential candidate Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf vowed that his prospective administration would address the economic slump, inflation and unemployment, the main problems hobbling the staggering domestic economy.

"A downturn, joblessness and inflation are the three major problems of the economy that interact with each other," he said in a Saturday interview with state TV. Qalibaf has posed a tough challenge on behalf of the conservative camp to moderate President Hassan Rouhani's bid for a second term in the May 19 election.

He reiterated his controversial electoral promise to create 5 million jobs.

"To achieve this, we need capital, skilled workforce and technology, all of which abound in our country," he said.

Qalibaf, who is the mayor of the capital Tehran, and the other leading conservative hopeful, Ebrahim Raeisi, the custodian of the holy shrine of Imam Reza (PBUH), have railed against Rouhani's economic performance and claimed that if elected, they would create 1 to 1.5 million jobs per year.

The mayor said his economic plans will focus, among other things, on reviving the troubled industries. He questioned the reliability of economic data that his rival Rouhani has frequently invoked to defend his economic record.

"Some believe that there is no inflation problem and claim that we now have a single-digit inflation, but do the public also feel an inflation rate of 7-8%? Definitely not," he said.

Qalibaf and Raeisi also insist on increasing cash handouts manifold, without specifying the source of the needed funds.

"Over 10% of our people are in grinding poverty and find it a challenge to meet their most basic needs, whereas we are living in a rich country endowed with vast natural resources," Qalibaf said earlier this month.

Rouhani, who has acknowledged that he has not been able to generate as many jobs as he promised during his election campaigning in 2013, but has hit back by warning against plans by his conservative contenders to boost liquidity and highlighted the need to focus on creating a pro-business climate.


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