|Iran 2025, V.2: Is it needed?||
The future outlook of Iran on the horizon of the next two decades, aka Iran 2025 (Iran 1404 in the Iranian calendar), is a national document envisioning the futuristic ideals, goals, and conditions of Iran in the year 2025. The 20-Year Vision Plan document, which was drafted to introduce the country’s vision statement to decision makers and managers, embraces a set of goals that seek to define the future status of Iran.
According to the “horizon document”, which was prepared by the Expediency Council and ratified by the Leader in November 2003, Iran must be the leading country in economy, science, and technology in the region by 2025, inspiring the region and the world with its constructive and effective interactions in international relationships.
Based on the document’s supportive studies and the documents published during the compilation of the 4th Development Plan (the first five-year plan during the 20-Year Vision Plan, which ran from 2005 to 2010), the ideal quantitative economic values (annual average) to fulfill the 20-year “being #1 goal” should be:
• Economic growth rate of 8.6%
• Investment growth rate of 10.9%
• Per capita income growth rate of 7.2%
• Inflation rate of 7%
• Labor productivity growth rate of 4.4%,
• Unemployment rate of 7% at the end of the horizon,
• Industrial exports worth $23.6 billion at the end of the horizon,
• Non-oil exports worth $31.5 billion at the end of horizon
According to the 20-year document, the preparation, formulation, and approval of five-year development plans and annual national budgets, including their macro-quantitative indicators such as GDP growth, investment rate, unemployment rate, inflation, and income gap, and also education and research and defense capabilities, should be determined and compiled based on appropriate vision requirements, in which, at the end of the horizon, the objectives mentioned in the document are fully met. Hence, the realization of the goals of Iran 2025 depends on the realization of the goals of the five-year development plans and annual national budgets (which are compiled based on the guidelines of five-year plans).
After a little over seven years of the implementation of the horizon document, it seems that despite some major progress in specific scientific areas like biotechnology, nanotechnology, space technology, nuclear energy, and medicine, in addition to a very good record of health coverage and related issues like low infant mortality and maternal death rates, unfortunately, government administrations have not had a “vision acceptable” performance on the leading economic indicators like unemployment, inflation, and growth rate. Accordingly, considering the current trend, as time passes, the economic goals on the horizon will become more mathematically distant.
Apart from the role of the administrations in fulfilling the short-term and mid-term goals (i.e. annual national budgets and five-year goals), the realization of the long-term objectives is largely dependent on large-scope changing situations and the challenges and opportunities they provide for an economy. For instance, changes in the regional-global environment-structure, like the recent regional “spring” and the global “99-percent” movement, or changes in cyber technology and cyber relations over the last decade and their effect on all aspects of socioeconomic life, can affect the basic presumptions and goals of a multi-decade vision plan. In this regard, it may be a good idea to prepare a revision of the 20-year plan with updated guidelines and a revised approach to progress and/or becoming number one, while there is a conservative approach that says only adopting more strict supervisory-monitoring measures on governments during the implementation of mid-term plans will be adequate to lead the country toward 2025.
Time will judge which approach is practical: versioning and updating the vision plans -- just like versioning software and operating systems -- and producing Iran 2025, V.n horizon documents, or adopting more control measures, or maybe a combination of both.
Tohid Atashbar is a researcher at the Department of Planning of Iran’s Majlis (Parliament) Research Center.
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