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Iran official confident of 8% economic growth rate in 4th 5-year plan

An Iranian key economic figure solemnly believes that the country will manage to meet an economic growth rate of eight percent in the fourth five-year economic development plan (2005-10), saying it is not a dream or inaccessible goal, IRNA reported from Semnan.

Deputy Minister of Economy and Finance for Economic Affairs Saeed Shirakvand told IRNA here Wednesday that ongoing economic indices and rich potential of the Islamic state provide strong evidence for materialization of the goal.

The official also referred to other factors which would help materialization of the figure in the fourth plan, namely a share the plan envisages for investment by foreigners and the out-of-home Iranians.

Iran stood first in Middle East and North Africa last year for an economic growth rate of 7.3 percent, excluding oil revenues.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in a report this year that a 10.2 percent growth in the country's agriculture sector and 11 percent in its industry and other sectors had helped the country push up its ranking in the list.

The IMF said that Iran's economy had passed a desirable stage in the 2002-2003 period due to growth in its gross domestic product, falling unemployment rate in recent years, reduction in its foreign debts and growth in its international reserves.

Shirakvand also unveiled plans to lower inflation rate, pegging it at a one-digit code almost close to 10 percent as has been stipulated by the fourth plan.

Inflation in Iran continued its upward trend for the second consecutive year, going up to 14.6 percent in a year to Shahrivar, the sixth month in Iranian calendar, with manufactured goods and foodstuff becoming costlier.

In Iran, inflation is mainly caused by banking mismanagement, staggering loan and borrowing, mostly by the state organizations, government's domination of key economic sectors, indiscriminate allocation of subsidy both to the poor and the rich, and government's expansionary policies.

The fixed income group, which includes employees and workers, suffer the most from inflation.

Government has been trying to follow deflationary policies, including raising taxes, issuing participation bonds, and revising banking policies.

... Payvand News - 12/11/03 ... --

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