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EghtesadOnline: Loans and credit lines amounting to 70 trillion rials ($1.5 billion) have been allocated to tackle the serious unemployment problem in the western Iranian province of Kermanshah, the governor general of the province announced.

“The allocation is enough to create more than 20,000 jobs,” IRNA also quoted Houshang Bazvand as saying. 

Kermanshah Province registered the highest unemployment rate of 22% among all Iranian provinces in the last fiscal year (March 2016-17), the Statistical Center of Iran reported. 

Iran’s overall unemployment stood at 12.4% last year. Tehran Province, wherein lies the capital city, registered an 11.6% unemployment rate while four provinces, namely Markazi Province (7.3%), Semnan (8.6%), Hamedan (9.5%) and Zanjan (9.7%), registered single-digit unemployment rates, according to Financial Tribune.

Being caught in the crosshairs of the catastrophic 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War, large-scale migration and natural disasters, including the November deadly earthquake, are cited as the main reasons behind the high rate of unemployment in Kermanshah.

“Around 145,000 of two million natives of Kermanshah are unemployed, and the figure grows by up to 8,000 annually,” Bazvand added. 

Some 800 people in Kermanshah became unemployed following the Nov. 8 earthquake, while the natural disaster caused the indirect unemployment of 1,500 people, Nematollah Haqiqi, the head of Industries, Mining and Trade Organization of Kermanshah Province, said two weeks after the quake.

Noting that damage to 77 industrial units of the province ranged from 10-100%, the official said 40 units were damaged in Sarpol-Zahab County, the region hit hardest by the earthquake. 

According to Haqiqi, the quake inflicted losses estimated at around 8 trillion rials ($170 million) on the agriculture sector of the province. 

“Damage caused to livestock farms, fodder barns and agricultural processing industries accounts for 3 trillion rials ($64 million) of the total amount,” he said.

“More than 3.3 trillion rials ($70 million) in damage were inflicted on water and soil infrastructures, including pumping stations, water wells and irrigation pools.”

Noting that the estimated damage to fisheries stands at 170 billion rials ($3.6 million), Haqiqi said the loss of livestock includes 197,000 head of light livestock worth 1,400 billion ($30 million), 3,800 head of heavy livestock worth 160 billion rials ($3.4 million), 10,000 honeybee colonies worth 30 billion rials ($640,000) and 115,000 chickens worth 12 billion rials (256,000).

Damage amounting to 170 billion rials ($3.6 million) was inflicted on office buildings of the organization.

The 7.3 magnitude earthquake rocked Kermanshah Province and the regions bordering Iraq, killing over 600 people and injuring thousands of others.

Government Spokesman Mohammad Baqer Nobakht said the government would allocate 6,590 billion rials ($140 million) in loans and 2,810 billion rials ($60 million) as grants to households in the western province. “Households in rural areas will receive 250 million rials ($5,300) in loans and 50 million rials ($1,250) as grants, while residents of urban areas will get loans to the tune of 350 million rials ($8,750) and grants worth 60 million rials ($1,000),” he said a week after the quake.

“The government will offer 120 million rials ($2,500) in loans and 20 million rials ($420) as grants to households who need to repair their quake-damaged homes,” Nobakht said.

Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei approved the allocation of $200 million from the National Development Fund of Iran, the country’s sovereign wealth fund, to distressed areas affected by the powerful earthquake.

 

Kermanshah Unemployment