By Mahnaz Abdi

Industrial growth achieved despite sanctions, pandemic

March 14, 2021 - 12:1

TEHRAN- The U.S. sanctions have targeted Iran’s all aspects of economy and industry, but the “self-reliance” approach that the Islamic Republic has taken to nullify the sanctions has proved that nothing can impede Iran from progress.

Since the U.S. re-imposition of the sanctions, the self-reliance strategy of Iran has been followed up by all state-run and private bodies.

In the current Iranian calendar year (began on March 20, 2020), which has been named as the year of “Surge in Production” by the leader of the Islamic Revolution, all ministries have defined their comprehensive programs to pursue for materialization of this motto.

Industry, Mining, and Trade Ministry, as one of the major players in this due, has outlined an all-out plan in this regard, which was announced by the former minister, Reza Rahmani, in April 2020.

Rahmani elaborated on the ministry’s seven main axes of the surge in production that are going to be pursued under 40 major programs.

Developing technology and promoting knowledge-based industries, development of domestic production in line with the Leader’s stresses on surge in production, managing imports and development of non-oil exports, improving the business environment, development of financing and investment and finally development of logistics were reported to be the seven major axes of the Industry, Mining and Trade Ministry’s works in the current year, which is named “Surge in Production” by the Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei.

Stressing the role of knowledge and technology in the improvement of domestic production, Rahmani noted that the ministry has it on the agenda to support such companies.

“The exports of products made by knowledge-based companies are going to be the priority in the country’s exports basket in the current year,” the official stressed.

He further noted that the imports of consumer products would be seriously restricted as such imports were decreased to only 10 percent of the total imports in the previous calendar year (ended on March 19).

The prepared plans and the strong will of the ministry to help the country achieve self-reliance through strengthening domestic production bore fruit, as the released reports and statistics indicate that the ministry has achieved growth in production in almost all sectors in the current year.

One important sector is the home appliance industry.

The latest data released in this due indicates that the manufacturing of refrigerators and freezers has risen 30 percent during the first ten months of the current Iranian calendar year (March 20, 2020 – January 19, 2021), compared to the same period of time in the past year, while that of the washing machines and TV sets has experiences a growth of 53-percent and 44-percent, respectively.

Keyvan Gardan, the director for the electrical and metals industries and home appliances office of the ministry, has said that the manufacturing of home appliances will hit a record high in the current Iranian calendar year (ends on March 20).

He said that according to the plans and the efforts made, despite the continuation of sanctions and the coronavirus pandemic, this year the record of home appliance production will be broken after the victory of the Islamic Revolution (1979).

Making the remarks in a last month meeting of industry owners with the directors of the Ministry of Industry, Mining and Trade in the field of formulating the strategy of Iran's home appliance industry on the horizon of 1404 (March 2025-March 2026), the official added, “Production was projected to grow by 30 percent this year, reaching a record of 12 million sets of home appliances, but the target was realized by the end of the tenth month (January 19)”.

Despite all the sanctions and problems, this industry has been able to continue to grow decisively in the past two and a half years, he said, adding, “Of course, with the ban imposed on the import of home appliances, the people also cooperated and supported this industry, which led to its growth.”

Currently, Iranian producers have indigenized the knowledge for manufacturing 70-75 percent of the country’s home appliance needs, according to Abbas Hashemi, the secretary of the Association of Industries of Household Appliances of Iran.

The success is also noticeable in car industry, one of the major industrial sectors of the country.

The latest data released in the field show that three major Iranian carmakers, namely Iran Khodro Company (IKCO), SAIPA Group, and Pars Khodro, manufactured 817,069 vehicles during the first eleven months of the current Iranian calendar year (March 20, 2020-February 18, 2021).

According to the data released by Codal website, during the mentioned period, IKCO manufactured 432,006 vehicles, of which 43,912 were produced in the eleventh Iranian calendar month of Bahman (January 20 – February 18, 2021).

SAIPA manufactured 291,220 vehicles in the mentioned period, of which 29,452 were manufactured in the eleventh month.

Pars Khodro also manufactured 93,843 vehicles, of which 12,828 were manufactured in the eleventh month.

Based on the data released by the Industry, Mining, and Trade Ministry, 468,699 vehicles were manufactured in Iran during the first half of the current year (March 20-September 21, 2020), which has been 23.4 percent higher than the figure for the same period of time in the past year.

Considering the mentioned data, while the growth in output has been realized in the first half, car manufacturing is also planned to rise in the second half.

Mohsen Salehinia, the new head of the Industrial Development and Renovation Organization of Iran (IDRO), has mentioned planning for increasing car manufacturing in the second half, and said, “We are investigating and finalizing the issues in this due”.

Deputy Industry, Mining and Trade Minister Saeed Zarandi had said earlier this year that 1.2 million vehicles were planned to be manufactured in the present year, which seems a realistic figure given the surge in production policies of this year.

While production is witnessing surge, import is declining in many sectors, as the import of many industrial parts, equipment, and machinery has been banned, while focus has been put on indigenizing the knowledge and technology to produce them inside the country.

And it should be noted that all these successes have been achieved despite not only the sanctions, but also the limitations created by the coronavirus pandemic.

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