Tehran, Iran, December 6
By Mehdi Sepahvand -- Trend:
The Iranian Privatization Organization is going to privatize the major machine manufacturing company Mashin Sazi Tabriz despite an objection by Minister of Industry Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh.
The privatization notice is going to be published on December 28, Mir Ali Ashraf Abdollahpouri Hosseini said, Fars news agency reported December 6.
He added that Nematzadeh's request to postpone the privatization for five years does not correspond to an amendment to Article 44 of the Iranian Constitution.
In 2007, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei requested that government officials speed up implementation of the policies outlined in the amendment of Article 44, and move towards economic privatization. Khamenei also suggested that ownership rights should be protected in courts set up by the Justice Ministry; the hope was that this new protection would give an additional measure of security and encourage private investment. Despite these statements, true official backing for privatization remains very slow due to political reasons.
Some 80 percent of the companies subject to Article 44 of the Constitution would be transferred to public ownership, 40 percent of which will be conducted through the "Justice Shares" scheme and the rest through the Bourse Organization. The government will keep the title of the remaining 20 percent.
The companies subject to the article must have been privatized by the end of the Iranian year 1389 (March 20, 2010), Hosseini noted.
If it is postponed any more, the privatization of the companies will then have been delayed for one decade, he stated.
According to the law, the government can postpone privatization of a company only by presenting a suggestion that would gain approval from the Parliament.
Mashin Sazi Tabriz staff recently complained that their wages are eight months overdue. Last year the managers of the company requested a one-year postponement to the privatization by claiming the company was becoming remarkably profitable. But this year the company suffered 170 billion rials ($5.7 million, for each dollar being worth 29,867 rials) loss, despite the fact that it is a well-known brand in Iran with assets of several trillion rials.