Iran's doing business index improves: Interview

09 October, 2017
Source: Tehran Times

In its latest report on easing doing business index, the World Bank has put Iran at the position of 120 among 190 countries.

Hossein Mirshojaeian, the deputy finance and economic affairs minister, is of the opinion that submitting precise data and information by the country to the World Bank and also changing specific methodologies have contributed to the improvement.

In an exclusive interview with the Tehran Times on October 4, he said the country’s rank has been 152 some four years ago but has climbed by 32 places to stand at 120 now.

“It’s 3-4 years that we have been following promotion of the country’s doing business rank and it is an agenda for the ministry in this year as Iran’s doing business rank is planned to rise 10 places each year according to the country’s Six Five-Year National Development Plan (2016-2021)”, the official announced.

“Over the past four years, we have submitted four reports to different teams of the World Bank in each year and filled out their questionnaires as well.  After nine years we could hold a video conference with them this year and they discussed on every single factor related to doing business index”, he further explained. 

“We are working continuously with the World Bank’s teams and submitting them their required data and filling in their questionnaires. And we should follow and conduct this process every year, submitting new data, reports on the latest performances of our organizations and other information”, he added.

“Promotion of rank is a hard job and some serious determination is required for such achievement. “We should make our most effort in this due”, the deputy minister commented.

Competitiveness rank improvement a target 

According to ‘The Global Competitiveness Report 2017–18’, recently published by the World Economic Forum (WEF), Iran is ranked 69th among 137 countries included in the report. The country has improved its level seven places from its previous rank.
 
Mirshojaeian mentioned stability in macro economy as one of the major factors led to this promotion and said: “We had noticeable improvement in most factors related to the competitiveness index.”

He also announced that by the end of the Sixth Five-Year National Development Plan Iran should rank third in the region in two indexes: property rights and competitiveness. 

4-4.5% economic growth feasible  

Further in his remarks, the deputy minister said that the anticipated 4-4.5 percent economic growth is achievable for Iran in the current Iranian calendar year (ends on March 20, 2018).

Inflation rate hoped to remain single digit 

Underlining that the trend of inflation is better than anticipation, Mirshojaeian said, “Inflation growth now is less than what we have expected and we hope that a single-digit rate will be preserved.”

Macro economy stability main factor for attracting foreign investment
 
In attraction of foreign investment the important thing is that the macro economy environment is stable in a way that the foreign investors are sure that during their work here they can benefit from the money they bring and then can exit it from the country in due time, according to Mirshojaeian.
He said such stable condition should be provided although there are some barriers that foreign currency fluctuation is one important one.
Mentioning another problem in attraction of foreign investors; he said: “Some sectors in Iran are not attractive for them. They are traditionally attracted to some sectors like oil and we should try to make other sectors attractive for them.”

Elsewhere in his remarks, the official put the approved foreign investment at about $9 billion in the last calendar year and said the figure is about $15 billion in this year.

He also referred to the finance deals Iran has signed recently with some foreign countries and said although some good deals have been made the Iranian side should come and use them although there are some hurdles in this due for example those related to the banking guarantees and foreign currency fluctuations.

To reinforce his opinion he referred to what Finance and Economic Minister Masoud Karbasian said addressing the private sector in the Government-Private Sector Negotiation Council’s meeting on October 3. The minister said: “We have signed the deals, come and use them.”

The more the private sector uses these finances, the more benefits will come to the country, the deputy minister concluded.

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