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Back to homeland

Emigrants to be invited

Ardor for inviting investors has begun. And this is inspired by the government and consultative assembly members who are talking louder about this “Call” and “the advantages of returning financiers back to Iran”.

Neda Ganji
Ardor for inviting investors has begun. And this is inspired by the government and consultative assembly members who are talking louder about this "Call" and "the advantages of returning financiers back to Iran". They point out "the ways to attract foreign assets" in their speeches and writings and, now, with the eleventh government having passed eight months of holding power and with slightly stable economy, they introduce Iran as a " Paradise" for investment. Although politicians and financial managers are trying to treat both Iranians and foreigners in a fair manner, it seems that the government has specifically relied on Iranian investors who had migrated out of country. In his foreign country travels, the president invites investors, especially those Iranian investors who live in foreign countries to invest in Iran's economy. Probably his first official invitation happened in World Economic Forum (WEF) held in Davos. "I would invite all distinguished participants to travel to Iran and witness the extensive field for investment and make contact with Iran's private and public sectors. Get familiar with Islamic culture and civilization and closely experience Iranian hospitality so that together we would reach this fact that is only through interaction, cooperation, sympathy, mutual understanding and the economic growth and development that we will be able to provide a better life for people and make peace more stable and have a world devoid of any extremism and violence", said Rouhani.
Oral invitation of Rouhani has not been limited only to Davos "WEF". In most of his travels to foreign countries or when he made inland travels to different provinces, he invited active financiers and Iranian merchants to "return and invest". During events like when he was giving a speech in Oman for Iranian and Omani merchants or when he was in Khuzestan province during his provincial travels, he addressed active financiers: "Iran's warm embrace is open to all Iranians who are living in foreign countries and we are ready to use their opinions for growth and prosperity of the country. We hope Iranian active financiers who are living out of Iran can invest for Iran's prosperity and at the same time they direct foreign capital and different skills to the country.
Chambers of commerce to be active
Not only the president but also the head of consultative assembly has joined the wave of "invitation of Iranian financiers". In a conversation with Tejarat e Farda, he stated; "Perhaps it is good to activate Chambers in Iran and Tehran regarding the invitation of the Iranian financiers." Ali Larijani says: "we have many Iranians who are living in neighboring or western countries. They are interested in investing in Iran since they know the country. Therefore, we must create facilities for them to come. Due to their Iran's fervency it is better to have them invest in the country and now such willingness exists in both consultative assembly and government". He included: "Iranians who live outside of Iran should now believe that financial activities are profitable and relaxed in Iran's current atmosphere. Excluding a little portion of Iranians who live outside of Iran, the main problem for most of them is not political. As an example there were some people who thought Iran's exchange market is turbulent and there is a risk of losing their assets so they just invested in other countries and markets. But today Iran's economy is stable. Moreover, there is a strong determination to resolve all investment problems throughout the country." Mr. Larijani went on to say, "The government approach is not to surprise people with new and heterogenetic laws. Stability and security of economy includes are two main concerns. Financial agitation should be avoided as it encourages investors to flee or/ and ignites fear among them. Therefore, I think this time provides a good opportunity for Iranians who live outside of Iran to return and invest. At the moment, chambers of commerce are extensively interacting with foreign countries and it may not be a bad idea to have chambers of Iran and Tehran activated regarding the invitation of Iranians investors abroad.
The head of consultative assembly points out some reasons for emigration of Iranian investors to foreign countries. He mentions the business cycle ruffle as the main reason. Undoubtedly, he and other politicians and financial managers know that Iran's business atmosphere is facing many problems. This suffices to refer to reports made by international organizations which indicate that Iran's business indices are lowered every year in comparison to the years before.
On the other hand, economic experts view denial of ownership rights as another cause for emigration of investors. The sad story of "nationalization" and "confiscation" of investors' properties in initial years of revolution was an inappropriate approach followed by some revolutionaries. However, denial of ownership rights is still a current and indefeasible tradition in Iran's business atmosphere. In recent years, when bank debt crisis grew larger and larger like an avalanche, the active economists were in risk of being accused of misbehavior more than any time before. Politicians and other governing and supervision organizations from one side and banks from the other side increased the mental stresses and intensified shocking proceedings for owners of businesses. They ignored the fact that a part of these debts had been initialized due to instability of macroeconomics and also inexperienced and hasty decisions of politicians. As the last stage of pressure on those active economists who defaulted their loans, their properties which had been pledged to banks were foreclosed. Now the question arises whether avoiding such approaches can be a motivation for emigrants to return or whether absence of government interference in business atmosphere may help. Unlimited interferences in the past prompted emigration. Producers and merchants grew tired of government dictations. One of the common but significant examples of these kinds of interferences is that they buy their raw materials at market rate, but they have to be obedient to government orders while pricing their products. One of the other noticeable reasons which threatens the security of investors in business atmosphere is political decisions and tensions. In some cases those tensions paved the way for a part of sanctions against Iran. Those who invite investors to Iran need to assure them about removing the shadow of government off economy. When a president speaks about open arms of a country to accept investors or emphasizes on entrusting affairs to private sector and entrepreneurs, there is no doubt in his goodwill. But will this goodwill alone be enough for financiers? Will these promises convince them to return home?

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