By Pooya Stone
What is the reason for not implementing the five-year development plans?
Iran’s clerical regime has been so clumsy in copying developed countries that today, after forty years of wasting people’s capital and implementing six five-year plans, it has achieved nothing but worthless plans and a destructive performance of the nation’s resources and wealth, analysts say. However, other countries, which later, with more problems and fewer resources than the Iranian government, began to take steps towards development, have achieved remarkable success today.
In parallel with the Iranian government’s Planning and Budget Organization, which is itself a huge labyrinth with various owners and, of course, which is a place for officials to loot the country’s resources, other people outside the circle of the officials have opened economic thinktanks and analytics to become a part of this corrupted system. One of these shops is called ‘Iran’s Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution and Expediency Council’ which belongs to Sadegh Vaez-Zadeh, who is Khamenei’s cousin and who has been writing developing programs for 2065 (1444 Persian calendar) from a decade ago at a cost of hundreds of millions of Tomans.
Half of the development plans have not been implemented
The owner of this center says in an interview in promoting his product and criticizing the country’s official developing programmers:
“The question that is often raised in society and among the elite is whether this document will have the same fate of other documents, such as the ‘outlook’ or not?’
He added: “Evaluations show that less than 50 percent of the five-year development plans have been implemented. The reasons for this were revealed in a study entitled ‘Pathology of the country’s planning documents’ (ANA, 26 January 2019).
In an interview afterward about the implementation of the five-year plans and the discovery of numerous flaws inside and outside them, he claimed that the plans were eventually ‘abandoned with the slightest hurdle’.
He pointed out that “the process of reforming, completing and upgrading the document [the five-year plan and the visionary plan] has not been taken into account, and therefore instead of formal and transparent reform, some have in fact withdrawn. When a program is running into big obstacles, the easiest thing to do is to put the program aside in practice.”
The failure of development programs in Iran
After the end of the Iran-Iraq war in 1988 until the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, three five-year plans were implemented, each of which led the country to several crises and economic disasters. Ahmadinejad went so far as, not only opposing the Fourth Plan, which was approved during Khatami’s term but also dissolving the PBO and replacing it with an assistance program for economic development controlled by his friends. The Fifth Plan, drafted by Ahmadinejad’s government, was one of the worst in the regime, with bitter results prompting even many government officials to protest.
The sixth program
Due to various changes made by the 10th Majlis (parliament) and the Guardian Council in the Sixth Plan approved by Rouhani’s government, the government has no longer any desire to implement it, so the Rouhani government dealt with it with extreme reluctance, until its implementation was finally announced in May 2017.
“I deny Rouhani’s failure to implement the Sixth Plan,” said Hossein Ali Amiri, Rouhani’s deputy parliamentary speaker, in response to a question about whether the news was fundamentally incorrect. He added:
“In any case, the law is made by human beings. It may have a problem in implementation, but it can be amended by sending it as a bill to the parliament.” (Tabnak, 16 July 2017)
Early termination of the sixth plan
Exactly one year after the implementation of the Sixth Plan by Rouhani’s government, there were widespread flaws, objections, and criticisms. This shows that the program is just a bubble and has no real basis. It is better for it to be stopped.
Critics noted the slowdown in economic growth, the worrying rise in liquidity, and the decline in foreign investment. Meanwhile, with the withdrawal of the United States from the JCPOA and the resumption of sanctions due to the widespread violation of the JCPOA by the Iranian government, including increased terror and missile activities and equipment of proxy groups and warmongering in the Middle East, all equations of government’s development programmers were disrupted.
Shargh state-run daily on 15 July 2018 wrote in this regard:
“This year is the second year of the Sixth Development Plan; The program was met with much controversy… With a one-year delay, it became the government’s four-year financial document. Now the comparison of the projected numbers in the Sixth Development Plan with the figures achieved so far this year shows how far this program is in terms of estimating what is happening in the economy.”
Observers say the new parliament speaker Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf thinks that the economic development plan, which is an important part of the country’s fate, can be pursued like his bullying tactics on the streets. While he has no idea what the fate of the five-year plans and annual budgets has been, during a meeting with Ahmad Jannati, he promised that “with a 5-year plan, the economic situation can be improved.”
Qalibaf, who had visited Jannati to express his devotion, spoke about the country’s economy and said: “We have to try to solve the problems, and with all the experience I have, I believe that the problems can be solved in a 5-year plan, of course, by reforming the management.” (Kayhan, 11 June 2020)