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Rafsanjani: Privatization plan key to Iran's development

TEHRAN, Jan. 22 (Mehr News Agency) -- Iran will not develop unless the Article 44 privatization plan is implemented and the private sector becomes involved, Expediency Council Chairman Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said here on Monday.

Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei issued a decree in early July to privatize state industries by amending Article 44 of the Constitution, which had banned private ownership of state institutions.

"The Supreme Leader expects the Article 44 policies to cause an economic revolution in the country," Rafsanjani told a national seminar on the major policies of Article 44 of the Constitution.

"The Leader has stated that after the (1979) Islamic Revolution, the situation did not allow us to take an appropriate measure for (future) economic developments, but at this stage we should harmonize our economy with the global economy as soon as possible," he added.

As the Leader has said, Iran should become a center of economic development in twenty years, he noted.

Rafsanjani said that the privatization initiative is based on using the private and public sectors and cooperatives, but no serious progress has been made in these areas.

The private sector has great potential which should be used, he added.

He criticized the three branches of the government for failing to formulate serious plans to implement the privatization scheme.

"Unfortunately, no serious measure has been taken since the Supreme Leader announced the plan. Even the Expediency Council, as the supervisor, has done nothing serious, like all other bodies in charge of implementing the plan."

The Judiciary has failed to approve appropriate laws to guarantee the financial security of those who want to work in this area, he said.

The parliament has not approved proper laws, based on which the administration can take useful measures, he noted.

"The administration has also failed to implement the Leader's orders quickly. And all this has held us back.

"We should bring about a noticeable change in the country. Otherwise, the countries which are less developed than us will surpass us," the former president warned.

"We should activate the private sector in such a way that people can feel assured that the government will fully support their major investments."

He went on to say that there is an enormous amount of capital in Iran but "we have not been able to use it properly because we have not adopted the policies necessary to encourage investment in the country."

"We should take the private sector seriously... We should draft regulations to guarantee people's (financial) security and eliminate the laws that could create obstacles for them," Rafsanjani suggested.

Majlis Speaker Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel told the seminar that the three branches of government should be coordinated so they can implement the Article 44 plan.

"A supervisory committee should also be established to permanently supervise the three branches and report to the Supreme Leader," he added.

The parliament has warmly welcomed the plan and has established a special committee to follow up its implementation, he said.

He emphasized the importance of investment, saying, "We should draft laws to facilitate investment in the country."

... Payvand News - 1/23/07 ... --

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