EghtesadOnline: Iran’s ICT market’s annual turnover stands at 350 trillion rials ($8.3 billion), generating 50 trillion rials ($1.19 billion) for the government in taxes and direct incomes.
The figures were announced by ICT Minister Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi during his visit to the University of Tehran’s Science and Technology Park on Sunday, reported the ICT ministry’s website.
On the occasion of visiting an exhibition held to display the achievements of the companies based in the park, Azari-Jahromi held a press conference to outline the status of Iran’s ICT sector and bring the necessity of boosting the related businesses to the fore.
According to the minister, the investments made in the sector have created a market with an annual turnover of 350 trillion rials, injecting 50 trillion rials into government’s coffers from taxes and direct incomes, Financial Tribune reported.
The government of President Hassan Rouhani and other state bodies have vastly invested in the booming sector through a wide range of startup accelerators and venture capital funds. Furthermore, with the government’s backing, several science and technology parks have been established in Iran, which are home to many startups and knowledge-based firms.
Depicting a bright future for the key ICT industry, Azari-Jahromi said the government expects the sector to grow over 2.5 times by the end of the current development plan and its turnover to reach more than one quadrillion rials ($23.8 billion).
The Sixth Five-Year Development Plan (2016-21) obligates the government and the Central Bank of Iran to take initiatives to steer the economy away from overreliance on oil revenues. The plan has targeted an 8% annual growth.
One of the means to reach the set target was the implementation of the so-called Mobile Registry Scheme.
Aimed at curbing cellphone smuggling, the ICT Ministry, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Customs Administration, the Communications Regulatory Authority and the Industries Ministry created the Mobile Registry Scheme according to which local operators are barred from offering services to contraband phones.
During the press conference, pointing to the Registry Scheme, Azari-Jahromi said the project was part of the e-governance plan and has already generated 16 trillion rials ($380 million) revenue for the government.
Azari-Jahromi is of the opinion that investing open-handedly in academic entities is a must which can boost the economy in the long run and generate wealth for the nation as a whole. He said, “The money spent will multiply and return to society. Any institution which establishes ties with universities is certain to contribute to the country’s development.”
The young minister cautions that two of the gravest challenges Iran is facing today are unemployment and depleting natural resources.
He further noted, “Considering the international circumstances, the country is certain to face more serious headwinds, and our duty is to make [private and state-owned] entities more efficient.”
Since the belligerent US President Donald Trump has pulled the country out of the historic nuclear deal, many Iranian startups and knowledge-based firms have sounded alarms that the country will face hardships in various fields of technology. Azari-Jahromi’s comments seem to be a response to the prevalent worries posted on social media platforms.
Azari-Jahromi said tapping into technology is the solution to increase efficiency.
Furthermore, acknowledging that the first sign of a technological evolution manifests itself in the economy, he noted that its impact on social and cultural aspects of life cannot be ignored.
“We must trust the country’s [cultural] capacity for technological advancement. If we try to forestall technologies’ foray into all aspects of life citing ‘cultural concerns’, we certainly will deprive the country of the opportunities that technology can present to Iran.”
The minister revealed the outlines of a scheme aimed at creating tech-related jobs. The plan has been devised jointly by six state bodies, namely the ministries of ICT, Cooperatives, Industries and Science, along with the Administrative and Recruitment Organization and the Vice Presidential Office for Science and Technology.
The plan has been submitted to the government’s economic commission.
Pointing to digital economy parks as one of the key elements embedded in the scheme, Azari-Jahromi said, “Such parks will establish an environment to open up opportunities to support active institutions’ growth.”
Some of the benefits envisaged in the scheme include insurance policies, loans, tax exemptions and provisions of financial resources.
The diligent minister concluded his remarks by stressing the digital transformation’s potential in promoting the population’s welfare.