Iran: Khamenei Steps In to Rescue Economy
By Shayan Ghajar, insideIRAN.org
On July 19 Iran’s highest authority, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, published a “General Employment Policy” consisting of 13 goals or strategies to improve employment in Iran. The plan was an indirect but telling acknowledgement of Iran’s massive unemployment problem–it follows just a week after statements by Khamenei to Iran’s Chamber of Commerce in which the Supreme Leader urged economic optimism and restraint in publishing discouraging items regarding the economy. The statement was published to virtually every state-owned or affiliated news agency in Farsi, as well as the the Supreme Leader’s website.
Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei
Ayatollah Khamenei published the plan with advice from the Expediency Council, indicating once again the high level of importance placed upon solving the unemployment crisis in Iran. It is also worth noting that the Supreme Leader’s other statements the same week were translated into English on his website–however, perhaps due to concerns over publicizing Iran’s unemployment situation, the 13-point plan is not featured in English on the site though a copy in Farsi was posted.
The Supreme Leader’s strategies for improving Iran’s abysmal unemployment situation are as follows:
- Promote and reinforce a culture of work, productivity, entrepreneurship, and the use of domestic products as an Islamic and national value by making use of the educational system and state promotional media.
- Training human resources specialists, skilled and efficient and suited to the needs of the labor market (current and future); enhancement of the capacity of entrepreneurs as a responsibility of the national educational system (education and training, professional and technical as well as higher education); and the integration of training and skills and cooperation of businesses to use their highest potential.
- The creation of stable employment opportunities with emphasis on the use of technological development and a knowledge-based economy and foresight with regards to developments on a national or global level.
- The creation of a comprehensive system of data on the labor market.
- Improve the business environment and enhance its indicators (political environment, cultural and legal and macroeconomic environment, labor market, taxes and infrastructure); support from the private sector and cooperatives; [improve]competitiveness from legal reforms, germane rules and practices within the framework of the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
- Attracting technology, investment and financial resources, exchange of workforce and access to foreign markets, goods and services through effective and productive engagement with countries, institutions, and local and international arrangements.
- Stability and coordination of monetary policy, financial, currency and commercial markets and regulation of economic markets in order to reduce the unemployment rate, boost efficiency of agents of production and increase production.
- More attention in the payment of subsidies to the protection of investment, productivity, and the generation of employment in the private and public sectors.
- Expanding the capacity of both the tourism and transportation industries.
- Support the establishment and development of methods of funding for startup businesses and innovative ideas.
- Establish effective support systems for the unemployed to improve their ability to find lasting employment.
- Pay special attention to reducing the unemployment rate in provinces with higher unemployment rates than the national average.
- Observe proportionality in the relationship between wages and productivity.
Meanwhile, Mehr News reported on July 20 that inflation had grown by another point for the third month in a row in Iran’s new year, reportedly hitting 15.4%. “The inflation rate in the first three months of the current Iranian calendar was 13.2%, 14.2 % and 15.4%, respectively,” declared the chief official in Iran’s Subsidies Reform Organization.
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Related Article: Conflicting Reports on Iran's Unemployment Rate - Iranian experts on employment and the economy are contesting the government's official unemployment rate of 10 percent, saying the rate is actually much higher at 17 to 20 percent.
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