Production-Based, Private Sector-Led Economy Underlined

By properly implementing the plan to privatize state-run companies, the government should change its role from an owner to a regulator
Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei meets President Hassan Rouhani and his Cabinet members in Tehran on Aug. 26.Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei meets President Hassan Rouhani and his Cabinet members in Tehran on Aug. 26.

Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei urged the government to reorient Iranian economic policies toward building a "production-based, private-run" economy, reiterating that officials should work relentlessly to wean the country off heavy dependence on oil revenues and root out economic corruption.

Ayatollah Khamenei made the statement in a meeting on Saturday with President Hassan Rouhani and his second-term Cabinet, which was strongly approved by the parliament last week.

The Leader has frequently called for putting economy on top of the government's agenda, most recently in Rouhani's endorsement ceremony early this month when he urged him to prioritize efforts at easing the livelihood problems of the people.

Ayatollah Khamenei called on the government to move toward real privatization of the economy, stressing that the shift in the ownership of state-run companies among governmental institutions would bring nothing good for the country.

"We should rid the economy of oil [dependence], and considering facilities, capacities and the country's workforce, this is feasible,", he said, according to a transcript on his official website.

"By properly implementing Article 44 [of Iran's Constitution on privatization of state-run companies], the government should change its role from an owner to a regulator," he added.

***Number-One Goal

Speaking in the meeting, Rouhani, 68, said his government's number-one goal is tackling the high unemployment rate and it will endeavor to create more than 900,000 jobs per year.

The president also said he would try to sustain high economic growth, keep the inflation rate at single-digit levels and eliminate extreme poverty.

"All should join hands with the government to resolve the people's problems," he said.

The centrist cleric, who won a 24-million mandate in the presidential vote in May, took his oath of office on August 5 and proposed Cabinet ministers to parliament for votes of confidence three days later.

The ministerial lineup for Rouhani's second term was almost totally confirmed by the parliament last Sunday, as all but one of 17 aspirants earned enough votes of confidence to take over ministerial portfolios.

Nearly half of his first Cabinet have been replaced, indicating Rouhani's will to inject fresh blood in his team to keep up the drive toward broadening Iran's international engagement and reforming its state-run economy.

Rouhani has appointed a caretaker to run the Energy Ministry, whose candidate was rejected by the parliament, as well as a caretaker for the Science Ministry, for which he did not name any nominee on August 8.

The caretaker can serve up to three months before the president names a ministerial nominee.


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