News ID: 322388
Published: 0321 GMT June 19, 2022

Economic reforms should have started sooner

Economic reforms should have started sooner

Mohammad Reza Bahonar Expediency Council member

Running the country is a process that needs planning and implementing those plans.

Decisions cannot be made overnight and immediately executed the day after. These processes take time, not unlike an investment that may eventually return a profit after two years or more.

Today, the most important concerns of Iranians and state officials are issues pertaining to the domestic economy and people’s livelihoods. One can recognize that our current problems have accumulated over the years due to a failure of timely resolution and implementation of necessary reforms.

Thus, resolving problems requires the implementation of reforms that would naturally have some painful effects, just like surgery that will be accompanied by pain.

A case in point is the incumbent administration’s decision to remove the subsidized US dollar exchange rate, which, despite having some negative consequences, is supported by most economists. No one opposes the implementation of the reform; the only voiced criticism concerns its timeliness. In response, it should be asked, “What guarantees are there that four years from now, circumstances would be better for implementing reforms?” On the contrary, such projects and reforms should have been adopted much sooner.

The performance of the incumbent administration, or any administration for that matter, should not be assessed in black and white. In other words, we should not judge an administration to have been either entirely successful or entirely unsuccessful. Some people had expectations, and even expressed their expectations loudly that if Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi were elected president, all problems would be resolved in a short time. The impossibility and irrationality of solving problems overnight were clear from the beginning. However, what matters is that Raeisi’s administrative plans and moves toward solving problems, on the one hand, and that various sectors of the government are hopeful for the future, on the other. Should you ask me whether I’m hopeful or not, I would respond that I’m simultaneously worried and hopeful.

If we were to imagine that 10 plans were on top of the administration’s agenda, we could say that it has implemented two or three plans quite well so far, and other items on the agenda are being resolved as well. Even so, the outcome and benefits of some of these plans and projects for the people are to be revealed in the next two or three years.

President Raeisi has dramatically overhauled the administration’s relationship with the people. Unlike the previous Iranian president, who was not very keen on traveling and appearing in popular gatherings, President Raeisi has met people of all walks of life and attempted to restore the public’s trust in the administration. Surely, such efforts are psychologically impactful and send a message to the people that their officials have rolled up their sleeves and directly see their problems.

One of the other great, impactful measures of the incumbent administration was its decision to put diplomacy with its neighbors in literal and metaphorical motion. The previous administration had put all of its eggs in the basket of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and did not pay much attention to the capacities available among its neighboring countries. During the 10 months that have passed since the new administration took office, President Raeisi has had five foreign trips to Iran’s neighbors, and several of his counterparts have also visited Iran and talked with the president, resulting in the conclusion of multiple contracts to expand cooperation. According to statistics released, the volume of trade and economic exchanges between Iran and its neighbors has grown as well, indicating that diplomacy has been used for the benefit of the economy. The incumbent administration has also been successful in curbing and fighting the coronavirus pandemic in less than a year, earning Iran a top global rank. Of course, all of these do not mean that the incumbent administration should not be criticized at all. What matters is that we do not just see the empty half of the cup when it comes to assessing any administration, including the incumbent Iranian administration.



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