Ministers outline top economic, energy policies

August 22, 2017

TEHRAN- Iranian Parliament (Majlis) on Sunday approved 16 cabinet members nominated by recently re-elected President Hassan Rouhani, including minister for oil Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, transport and urban development Abbas Akhoundi, and finance and economic affairs Masoud Karbasian, whose top priorities for their ministries come as follows. 

Foreign investment on Oil Ministry agenda

Attracting foreign investment into Iran’s oil sector will still be a top priority, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said on Sunday.

Zanganeh, who was once again retained at his position as Iran’s oil minister, said following up the signed IPCs (Iran’s new model of oil contracts) to attract foreign investment for developing the oil and gas fields Iran shares with its neighbors along with increasing the fields’ recovery factor are among the Oil Ministry’s top priorities.

“If we don’t consider improving [our field’s] recovery factor seriously, we will lose lots of resources and it will devastate our output,” Zanganeh was quoted as saying by IRNA.

The minister noted that for the time being, the Oil Ministry will be focusing on the already signed deals to push them forward.

According to the official, the next goal is going to be increasing the country’s gas exports which is mainly relied on increasing gas production.

“In this regard we will be focusing on completing the development of South Pars gas field phases, six of which are still uncompleted and should go operational by the end of the next Iranian calendar year (March 2019),” he said. 

The minister pointed to the second leap in petrochemical industry and also to development of the country’s refineries as other priorities of his affiliated ministry saying, “Petrochemical industry will experience a major development centering on private sector.”

The reappointed minister also mentioned construction of an oil terminal in the Persian Gulf as one of the upcoming programs of the Oil Ministry which has also been confirmed by President Rouhani.

“Reducing gas flairs to the lowest possible level is also on our agenda in the upcoming four-year plan,” Zanganeh added.

Transport is Sixth Development Plan’s focal point 

Addressing reporters on the sidelines of the new cabinet’s first meeting on Sunday, Transport and Urban Development Minister Abbas Akhoundi underscored the country’s Sixth Five-Year National Development Plan (2016-2021) as the focal point of his ministry during the next four years.

“In the housing sector, four groups are the main targets of the Transport Ministry. The first is the 11 million people who live in rural areas. Next is the 8 million people who live in old buildings. Next is the youth who need houses to get married, and the last is the low-income earners of the society,” he said.

Meanwhile, in the transport sector, as Akhoundi described, besides paying a specific attention to aviation and road sectors, shifting the dependency of the transportation system from automobiles to trains is of importance for the ministry. 

 Job creation top priority for Finance Ministry 

Given that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has named the current Iranian calendar year as the year of “Economy of resistance, production, job creation” the issue of creating jobs is of high significance for the government, Finance and Economic Affairs Minister Masoud Karbasian said after the cabinet’s first meeting.

“Despite Finance Ministry’s wide range of activities including implementation of Article 44 of the Iranian Constitution, taxing, privatization, capital market, cooperation with banking system, and attraction of foreign investments, its major goal is creating jobs in the country,” he said, underlining that reaching the goal requires planning unified programs and collaboration with other ministries. 

EF/HJ/MA

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