Iran’s Oil Ministry holds 46.6 percent share of country’s total privatization over past 9 years

Oil&Gas Materials 3 November 2013 14:18 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, Nov.3/ Trend F.Karimov/

Iran's Oil Ministry had the highest share of privatization among eight Iranian ministries over the past eight years, with a 46.6 percent share of total privatization, the Mehr News Agency reported today.

According to the Iranian Privatization Organization, the Education Ministry had the lowest amount of privatization, with just 0.01 percent of total privatization.

According to the report, 1,493,542 billion rials (about $600 billion based on the US official exchange rate of 24,900 rials) of state shares have been transferred since 2005, of which 694,259 billion rials (about $278 billion) have been related to the Oil Ministry.

The Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Trade ranked second with 339,940 billion rials (about $136 billion) worth of transferred shares.

The Ministry of Telecommunications, the Ministry of Economy, the Ministry of Energy, the Ministry of Agriculture, and the Ministry of Transport ranked third to seventh respectively.

On September 10, Iranian media outlets reported that Iranian economy minister Ali Tayyebnia has criticized the implementation of privatization policies by the former administrations saying that just 10-15 percent of state shares have been handed over.

Therefore, the privatization process has not improved the efficiency of the private sector considerably, he added.

Many economic experts have expressed concern about transferring shares of state-run companies to semi-government entities which are neither governmental nor privately-owned.

During administration of former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, security and military organizations, particularly the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and the semi-state companies affiliated with them have gained a big share of the privatized assets.

The IRGC has grabbed a large portion of Iran's economy, especially in the oil and gas industries, and its former commanders occupy numerous government posts. As a result, most trade and oil contracts signed by Iran necessarily involve the IRGC.