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Iran: Supreme Leader issues guidelines for privatization drive

Tehran, July 2, IRNA-Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei on Sunday issued an executive order for privatization envisaged by Article 44 of the Constitution.

The Supreme Leader forwarded the action plan to the heads of three branches of government: legislative, executive and judiciary and to the Chairman of the Expediency Council Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

According to the action plan, the Supreme Leader assigned the government to cede 80 percent of the shares of major state-owned enterprises to the people in order to support the targets envisioned by the 20-Year Strategy for Economic, Social and Cultural Development.

The Supreme Leader said in his executive order that ceding 80 percent of the shares of large companies will serve to bring about economic development, social justice and elimination of poverty.

"By putting into practice the action plan, the government's role will undergo a shift from direct involvement in ownership and running the large companies to supervisory and guidance of different sectors of the economy to meet the regulations of the World Trade Organization (WTO) gradually," the Supreme Leader said.

Ayatollah Khamenei said that the privatization process envisaged in his guidelines will help reinforce the private sector and cooperatives in national economy and support them to enter into competition in the international markets.

The Supreme Leader said that the downstream oil and gas sectors will undergo privatization and exclude the upstream oil and gas industry, National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), the state companies involved in explorations and production of crude oil and gas from the privatization drive.

The executive order called for hand-over of all the banks except for Central Bank of Iran (CBI), Bank Melli of Iran (BMI), Sepah Bank of Iran, Bank of Industry and Mines, Bank of Agriculture, Housing Bank (Bank Maskan) and the Export Development Bank of Iran (EDBI).

"All insurance companies excluding the policy making Central Insurance of Iran and Insurance of Iran should be privatized," the action plan said.

"All airlines companies except for Civil Aviation Organization as well as Ports and Shipping Organization should be ceded to the people." The industries affiliated to national defense and security sectors would be ceded to the people as specified by the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, said the action plan.

Share prices would be determined by the Stock Exchange.

Only five percent of the shares can be ceded to workers and staff of the companies on installment.

Pricing of the outputs of the large companies should be made in line with the world trade regulations.

"Part of the enterprises enjoying advanced technology and deemed necessary to remain under administration of national sovereignty are excluded from privatization."

... Payvand News - 7/3/06 ... --

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