Rouhani calls for expansion of privatization program

April 28, 2020 - 16:32

TEHRAN – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani stressed the need for the expansion of a privatization program based on which state-owned companies are offering their shares in the stock market, ISNA reported.

Speaking in a meeting of the government economic coordination headquarters, on Tuesday, Rouhani called for more government-owned companies and big enterprises to be listed on the stock market.

The president also stressed the importance of completing major semi-completed projects, saying: "The completion of semi-finished projects which have over 80 percent progress should be seriously pursued."

Emphasizing the need for supporting the production and industry sectors, Rouhani said: "In the current situation, it is necessary to provide foreign currency for basic goods, especially medicine and meet the needs of the people and the production sector.”

Further in the meeting, details of a program for selling government-owned companies’ surplus assets were also discussed.

The government has envisioned various strategies for compensating the next year’s budget deficit due to the fall in oil revenues.

Transferring government’s assets, using forex reserves, selling Islamic bonds, and withdrawing 450 trillion rials (about $10.714 billion) from National Development Fund (NDF) were among the strategies that have been approved by the country’s Supreme Council of Economic Coordination.

Among the mentioned strategies, privatization can play a significant role in surging domestic production and generating revenue, something that has been under the spotlight in the country over the past decade.

The law on the implementation of the general policies of Article 44 of Iran's Constitution on privatizing state-owned companies was declared in 2006 in a bid to downsize the government and promote the private sector’s role in the national economy.

Although since then, the privatization process has been facing several challenges in the country and has fallen behind schedule, drawing attention to the fact that urgent action should be done in this due.

Last year, Finance and Economic Affairs Minister Farhad Dejpasand had announced that offering the shares of state-owned companies, which were planned to be privatized, would be sped up.

President Hassan Rouhani had previously instructed Dejpasand that the process of divesting state shares should be expedited and the proper ground should be rapidly laid in the stock market to this end.

EF/MA

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