Rouhani to Scrap Iran’s 5-yr Development Plans?

By Alireza Ramezani, for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iran Business News.

Does Rouhani want to scrap Iran’s 5-year development plans?

Two weeks after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani ordered government bodies to prepare their annual budget plans for the fiscal year starting March 21, 2017, senior member of parliament Gholam Reza Kateb urged the Cabinet to submit the national budget bill before the Dec. 5 deadline so that lawmakers will have enough time to review it, the Young Journalists Club reported Oct. 9.

Kateb, a member of the parliament’s presiding board, also urged the Rouhani administration to consider the generalities of the sixth Five-Year Development Plan while preparing the budget bill. His comments came as parliament itself has now been sitting on the development plan, which was proposed by the Management and Planning Organization, for about nine months.

Indeed, lawmakers only approved the plan’s generalities as late as Oct. 2 — eight days after Rouhani ordered government bodies to prepare their budgets for the coming fiscal year.

Since 1989, Iran has produced and pursued five development plans in a bid to help reconstruct the country after the eight-year war with Iraq and achieve sustainable development. These efforts have been in line with the six development plans implemented prior to the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

But the fact is that neither the pre- nor post-revolution development plans have fully achieved the goals they have laid out. As such, many Iranian economists now believe that the era for such plans has ended and that governments instead need long-term strategic approaches toward growth and development.

“It is no longer the time of long-term comprehensive plans, which have concrete quantitative targets,” leading economic newspaper Donya-e Eqtesad quoted Mousa Ghaninejad, a prominent economist in Tehran, as saying on Oct. 18. Ghaninejad believes that the current development plans, which he described as “useless,” need to be replaced by “strategic road maps” that can depict clear frameworks for long-term financial, monetary and trade policies.

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