Some 40 multipurpose ports are under construction in the southern coastal regions of the country, said head of Ports and Maritime Organization (PMO).
Ataollah Sadr said on Wednesday that the ports which are expected to play a decisive role in the economic development of the region will become operational by the end of the current Iranian year (March 2013), IRNA reported.
Construction of the ports was launched two years ago, he added.
He also said that establishment of the small ports is the objective set by the development plan of coastal cities, pointing out that development projects will be implemented in 120 points of the cities.
The official went on to say that development of the ports is considered a necessity, adding that in many developed countries the most beautiful and advanced cities have been built in the vicinity of ports and coastal cities.
Once operational, Sadr said, the ports will be handed over to the local cooperative units, and the coastal cities will witness an economic boom in near future.
The official said that development of coastal transportation which is among the duties of PMO will help reduce road traffic and air pollution in the country.
In August, Sadr said some 40 trillion rials ($4 billion) have been invested in the Iranian ports.
“Some 150 port projects, worth 20 trillion rials ($2 billion), are presently underway in the country. The entire fund has been procured through domestic resources.”
He also said the same amount of investment have been made in the ports by the private sector.
The official added that 120 projects, costing 8 trillion rials ($8 billion), have become operational in the country in the past year (ended March 21), and that 72 projects worth 9.3 trillion rials (930 million) are expected to go into stream in the current year.
He put the cargo handling capacity of 11 main ports of the country at 172 million tons, of which 135 million tons are currently being used.
Indian Oil Company to Stay
The plan of Indian Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) to develop a gas field in Iran may hit aspirations for US energy assets, said the chairman of the corporation Sudhir Vasudeva on Tuesday, suggesting that the company may not give up partnership in Iranian energy projects for the sake of improved presence in the US.
“We are present in Iran and Sudan,” said Vasudeva, Fars News Agency reported.
“There are restrictions. We are trying to find ways to circumvent them. For any opportunity in the US, we will have to address the law of the land.”
Western sanctions against Iran’s peaceful nuclear program are aimed at stemming revenues of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) member through sales of crude and bar institutions dealing with Iran’s central bank from the US financial system.
Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd, a subsidiary of ONGC, is one of the key Indian oil clients of Iran.
ONGC is in talks with the Iranian government to develop the Farzad B gas field in the Farsi block. It also has a 25 percent stake in the Greater Nile project in Sudan.
Meanwhile, Energy Minister Majid Namjou said Iran has decided to use revenues from oil exports to India to implement projects.
He said an agreement has been reached and more negotiations will be conducted soon to finalize the agreement.
Speaking in a meeting with Indian Minister for Water Resources Bobo Kalanov, Namjou said given the restrictions on Iran’s banking ties, Tehran has decided to use financial returns from oil exports to India in carrying out projects in Iran, Mehr News Agency reported.
He said a list of projects and plans has been prepared and will be discussed with the Indian side.
Namjou referred to the participation of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Tehran and said it elevated the prospects of bilateral ties.
“Indian premier’s statements in the summit, particularly his remarks on issues related to renewable energies are very effective in the development of relations between the two countries,” he underlined.
The minister also said the Indian delegation’s visit to Tehran is an opportunity to boost relations and described a visit to India in the near future as one of his priorities.
Employment Rate Increasing
Domestic Economy Desk
Based on the figures released by Statistical Center of Iran (SCI), some 1.6 million job opportunities were generated in the past year (ended March 20).
Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare Minister Abdorreza Sheikholeslami said on Wednesday that in order to achieve the target of seven percent unemployment rate, set by the Fifth Five-Year Economic Development Plan (2010-2015), about 5.5 million job opportunities should be created by 2015.
He also said that thanks to the measures taken by the ministry, the number of employment opportunities which ware expected to be generated in the current year will exceed the set target, IRNA reported.
He called for allocation of banking loans to the job seekers, adding that sanctions imposed on the country have provided a good opportunity for generation of employment.
The minister also said that the sanctions have caused the public to pay more attention to domestically made products and that this has led to generation of new job opportunities in the country.
He added that the improvement of employment rate is considered as one of the main indices showing development of the countries in the world.
Sheikholeslami went on to say that based on the latest official statistics released by SCI, some 38.2 percent of Iran’s 10- year-old and above population are economically active.
He noted that the figure shows an increase of 2.3 percent compared to the figure for the last quarter of preceding year.
He pointed out that the unemployment rate of the country dropped by 1.2 percent in the first quarter of current Iranian year compared to the figure for the last quarter of preceding year.
In July, Sheikholeslami said some 450 trillion rials ($45 billion) in banking facilities have been allocated to investments and development of employment in the country.
He said the fund will be procured through the financial resources of National Development Fund, the development credits allocated by the government to various projects and private and cooperative sectors.
He said the measure is not adequate for generating jobs and extensive efforts should be made for achieving the set purpose.
Several organizations are involved in the activities related to job generation and investment, he added.
He recalled that the Labor Ministry acts as a coordinator among the various organizations involved in the related activities, pointing out that jobs should be generated by agricultural, industrial, service and other economic sectors of the country.
The minister also said legal and financial supports should be provided for generating jobs in various sector.
Sheikholeslami said that his ministry is to study the employment status of the country to recognize and remove the problems faced by the country’s labor market.
IP Gasline Fully Operational By 2014
Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project will be fully operational in 2014, said Pakistan’s minister of petroleum and natural resources.
“Surveys for the project are due to be completed before October 2012 and construction can start as early as December 2012,” The Express Tribune quoted Asim Hussain as saying on Tuesday.
The pipeline will start supplying 750 million cubic feet of gas per day starting from December 2014, he added.
Hussain explained that, the project is continuing as scheduled and the work on detailed route survey and the final front end engineering design is scheduled to be completed in September 2012.
The Pakistani official also said that the procurement activities of items such as pipelines, and compressors have already been started.
Pakistan faces shortage of gas due to depletion of natural resources which leave the country with small reserves not enough to produce large amounts of natural gas, he added.
The Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, projected to cost $1.2-1.5 billion, is aimed to export a daily amount of 21.5 million cubic meters of Iranian natural gas to Pakistan.
Maximum daily gas transfer capacity of the 56-inch pipeline -- which runs over 900 kilometers from Iran’s southern port city of Asalouyeh in Bushehr province to the city of Iranshahr in Sistan-Baluchestan province -- is estimated to hit 110 million cubic meters.
Iran has already constructed more than 900 kilometers of the pipeline on its soil.
Khuzestani Firms’ Presence In Iraq Urged
Domestic Economy Desk
Khuzestan technical-engineering companies shall actively take part in development projects of Iraq, said director general of Khuzestan Cooperatives, Labor, and Welfare Department in Ahwaz on Wednesday.
Seyyed Khalaf Mousavi urged Iranian technical-engineering firms to net a better share in the global markets such as Iraq, IRNA reported.
He also emphasized on the necessity to improve domestic production and upgrade the quality of products in an effort to compete with other rivals.
Mousavi called Iraq the most important trade partner of Iran in recent years.
Iran has achieved to secure a foothold in Iraqi market in light of 1,450 km of joint border and 14 official border points, he added.
“Given Iraq’s high demand for consumer goods, neighboring nations particularly Iranian can use this opportunity.”
He listed join border and low transportation costs as advantages for Khuzestani firms and businesspersons to tap the Iraqi market.
Oil Seed Output Will Reach 300,000 Tons by Yearend
Translated by Katayoon Dashti
Some 300,000 tons of oil seeds will be produced across 200,000 hectares of lands during current Iranian year (to end March 2013), said director general of Iran Cotton and Oil Seeds Organization.
Mohammadreza Dargahi expressed the hope that the figure would reach 1.2 million tons by the end of Fifth Five-Year Economic Development Plan (2015), ISNA reported.
Given that Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has named this year as “Year of National Production and Support for Iranian Labor and Capital” and emphasized on Resistance Economy, Dargahi called attaining self-sufficiency in production of oil seeds a priority for Agricultural Jihad Ministry.
Over 80 percent of the country’s demand for oil seeds is secured from Malaysia, Brazil, and India, he said.
He explained that Iran annually needs 1.27 million tons of edible oil, and that the country needs over 2.5 million tons of pressed seed (oil cake).
The country can gain self-sufficiency within five years through planning and increasing the area under oil seed cultivation, he added.
Dargahi pointed out that the country has proper infrastructures for growing oil seeds. “Currently, colza can be cultivated across 30 provinces.”
Khuzestan Steel Company has produced more than 70 million tons of final and middle products during the past 7 years, said the Managing Director of the company Abdolmajid Sharifi.