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President: Creation of job opportunities, urgent need of society

President Mohammad Khatami here Sunday night stressed that there is no alternative...

Tehran, July 2-- President Mohammad Khatami here Sunday night stressed that there is no alternative for creation of job
opportunities, promotion of production and encouragement of investment
within the country other than securing respect for the right of
individuals and economic agencies to material and spiritual ownership.
Addressing a seminar attended by hundreds of officials in charge
of the industry and mining sector on the occasion of industry and
mines day, Khatami said the call for creation of job opportunities and
campaign against unemployment will not prove effective in the absence
of due attention for investment and production.
Stressing that special attention should be paid to production, the
president said in the absence of production neither any job would be
created not independence of the country would be preserved or people
would enjoy a proper living standard.
However, the president underscored "creation of job opportunities"
as the urgent need of the society and said the government is firmly
determined to create jobs, adding that sustainable jobs would be
created only through a sound and dynamic economy.
Therefore, he further remarked, the main strategy of the
government in the field of economy is devising a change in the basic
outlook and structure of Iran's economy with an aim to realize
economic growth and thus create job opportunities.
"This is a grave and important task but its accomplishment is
inevitable," said the president.
Pointing to the heavy challenges that his administration managed
to tackle in the past four years, President Khatami apologized the
people for the harsh living condition they suffered within the said
period but said had the government not made great efforts, the society
would have definitely faced with greater crises.
Outlining government's efforts to get out of the recession that
prevailed in the country before its formation, he said tangible
improvement in the trend of investment and production, development
of infrastructural activities in the country especially in oil, gas
and petrochemical fields, reactivation of the construction sector
and employment of mechanisms to attract more foreign investment which
resulted in the growth of gross national product to 5.9 percent were
among such endeavors.
"We are now having a horizon before us that should become even
brighter through further cooperation of people and industry plays a
vital role in this connection," the president told the gathering.
Highlighting the pivotal role of industry in the contemporary
era, President Khatami said: "If we seek to exist in this world and
stand in a sublime status that deserves dignity of the noble Iranian
nation we have no other alternative than paying further attention to
the issue of industry and acquiring modern technical knowledge."
The president whose remarks were repeatedly interrupted by the
applause of the enthusiastic audience, said however that the mere
respect for material and spiritual property right is not sufficient
rather an atmosphere should be created for free competition in the
production sector as well.
Khatami who is also head of the High Economy Council, cited
elimination of redundant formalities in the process of development
in industry and mining sectors as other programs of his administration
for encouraging investment and production within the country.
He said he believed that tax rates should be reduced to the
benefit of production and that diversity of tariffs which is a threat
to investment and industry should be eliminated.
Khatami pointed to support for the country's industry to enable
the sector to compete at international arena and bolstering its
scientific back up and improvement of the banking system as other
programs of his government towards which steps have already been
He also elaborated on mechanisms for the encouragement of
investment, including the lowering of bank interest rates, boosting
production security within the society, promoting exports and paying
serious attention to small and medium scale industries as the major
highlights of his government's economic policy in the next four
Underlining the need for the creation of at least 760,000 jobs
annually in the course of the Third Five-Year Development Plan, ending
March 2005, he said the government cannot afford over half of the
figure as realization of such a plan is in need of a national will as
well as cooperation of the private sector.
Elsewhere in his remarks President Khatami pointed to the
"technological gap" between Iran and the outside world as a source
that could generate an immense crisis in the industry sector and the
entire Iranian society and called for an immediate solution of the
Stressing that the IQ of Iranians is above the world average and
Iran is among the seven world countries with rich civilizations, he
said such a technological gap should be bridged through conducting
industrial research.
He called on all craftsmen and industrialists to show the
industrial and technological orientation of future, adding that if the
direction is identified correctly not only the country would keep pace
with others but given Iran's capabilities and potentials it could also
pass behind the most advanced countries of the world.
The president also pointed to the "renovation of the country's
industry" as one of the most important programs of his government and
said the plan has been launched in the textile industry.
In the continuation of his remarks the head of the High Economy
Council termed fight with smuggling of goods as one of the most
crucial programs of his government and stressed that the effort will
be continued until the full eradication of the problem.
He said smuggling is not a new phenomenon in the country but
rather is an organized movement that in his view was being handled
with a Mafia-like gang.
Khatami reiterated that efforts would be seriously followed to
root out smuggling in the country and said he has assigned the
Information Ministry and all relevant organizations to cooperate in
this connection.
He then presented plaques of merit to veteran industrialists and
all those who have played outstanding role in the industrial and
mining sectors and visited an exhibition set up on the sidelines of
the seminar.