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Iran needs $17 billion of investments next year

Deputy Economy and Finance Minister Mohammad Khazai, speaking in Shiraz on Thursday, said that the national economic plans call for close to dlrs 17 billion of investments in the next Iranian year (stars March 20, 2004), IRNA reported.

Khazai, also Head of Foreign Investments, Technical and Economic Assistance Organization (FITEAO) said this level of investments aims to create 900,000 new jobs, "so that the unemployment rate is controlled and lowered to about three percent."

Speaking at a gathering of domestic and Dubai-based Iranian industrialists, he said expert studies indicate that each employment opportunity requires close to dlrs 18,000 of investments.

Attracting this amount of investments is not possible with domestic resources and "we should be thinking of drawing foreign investments and to prepare the grounds for inflow of foreign capital."

The Third (2000-2005) and Fourth (2005-2010) Socio-Economic velopment Plans call for dlrs 20 billion of investment annually.

Khazai further said grounds are prepared for foreign investments in the country, adding "foreign investors need to feel secure to invest in a country and have to be rendered serious support on the part of officials in the country."

On the political front, Khazai said reducing tension with other countries, notably the Persian Gulf littoral states, has been a right step in drawing foreign investments.

He also brushed aside comparisons likening foreign investments to "beggary from abroad."

"Using other countries financial resources is a common policy throughout the world and taking advantages of its fruits is an art which is rooted in a viable and vibrant national economy."

Khazai said foreign investment does not only entail garnering financial resources and covering budget deficit, it also means greater access to new technologies, employment, generating schemes, and increased productivity and more efficient management.

He said the number of applications for foreign investments rose in Iran last year and equaled the total foreign investment commitments in the past decade.

Khazai said with the passing of the new foreign investments law investments applications have topped four billion since last July.

Iran has been hard at work to promote foreign investments in the country.

Earlier in July, Khazai said in the decade 1992-2002 close to 4.5 billion of foreign investments were committed in the country.

Mining sector drew dlrs 1.242 billion and industrial sector dlrs 1.4 billion of foreign investments in recent year up to March 2003.

However, "even if all the requests are approved it will equal only one-fourth of planned foreign investments target."

He also cautioned that the amount of foreign investment in Iran is insignificant to the neighboring nations and some other developing countries.

Foreign investments in Malaysia, Turkey and Azerbaijan were dlrs 3.5 billion, dlrs 783 million and dlrs 691 million in 1999-2000 (before the September 11 attacks in the US) respectively.

"In the same period Iran drew about dlrs 89 million of foreign investments," Khazai underlined.

In addition foreign investments is an impetus for closer diplomatic and economic ties through easier access to international capital markets and financial sources.

... Payvand News - 7/18/03 ... --

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