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Iran enjoys highest economic growth rate in Middle East

Tehran, March 3, IRNA -- Vice President and Head of the Management and Planning Organization (MPO) Mohammad Sattarifar said here on Monday that Iran has the highest economic growth rate across the Middle East.

Speaking at the conference on the challenge and perspective of Iran's development, he told IRNA that high economic growth and low financial commitments have contributed to a proper economic growth in Iran.

Referring to the statistics released by the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) on the status of the major economic indices, he noted, "The national growth rate for the current Iranian year (started March 21) is estimated at 6.5 percent, which is higher than that predicted in the Third Development Plan."

He declared the national economic growth in the current year, excluding the oil sector, at 7.4 percent and added, "The oil sector faced a decline due to the reduction of Iran's OPEC-determined oil quota by 500,000 barrels.

Pointing to an 11.2 percent growth in the industries and mines sector, 13 percent in the construction sector and six percent decline in the oil sector, he added that the indices show that the government's performance in the current year is more favorable than last year and hoped that the trend will continue in future.

"The stable domestic investment growth rate was assessed at 11.8 percent and the national income growth stands at the fixed rate of 9.7 percent," he added.

The vice-president said that contrary to the rumors, the country's foreign commitments and debts stand at a reasonable level.

Referring to Iran's current financial commitments standing at dlrs 23.4 billion out of which dlrs 8.7 billion is verified, he said the remaining dlrs 14.7 billion is related to the purchased goods and services which have not yet been paid for.

He noted that the import of capital goods and services worth dlrs 14.7 billion will give an impetus to the Iranian economy.

Sattarifar said, "Both the hard currency reserves and national hard currency deposit account serve as a back-up and currency stability factor."

"By the end of last year, the national hard currency deposit account stood at dlrs 7.2 billion and the figure is predicted to reach dlrs eight billion by the end of the current year," he added.

He underlined, "Given that Iran has the least commitments and the highest hard currency resources, a good perspective is predicted for the coming years."

Pointing to the licenses issued for buy-back transactions, which stood at dlrs 43.7 billion, he noted that the government is not committed to reimburse the financial commitments on the buy-back transactions.

"The foreign investors are to get their share out of the produced goods, once the related projects are commissioned," he added.

The vice-president referred to using advanced technology, expediting the projects underway and using foreign resources as some of the advantages of the buy-back contracts and said that the definite value of such transactions have so far amounted to dlrs 28.9 billion.

Concerning the expedition of the process of drawing up the fourth development plan, he said, "We look forward to the prospect of the presidential elections and that of the seventh term of Majlis in the coming Iranian year (starting March 21)."

"Thus the by-law of the fourth development plan will be submitted to Majlis sooner than expected to make use of the expertise of the sixth term of Majlis and enable the future cabinet to implement it," he concluded.

... Payvand News - 3/3/03 ... --

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