GREAT TRANSFORMATIONS

Iran 2017 | INDUSTRY & MINING | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Dr. Mansour Moazami, Deputy Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade & Chairman of the Board, Industrial Development & Renovation Organization of Iran (IDRO), on providing the right mentorship to younger generations, empowering the private sector, and the need for greater liquidity.

Dr. Mansour Moazami
BIOGRAPHY
Dr. Mansour Moazami holds a PhD in business administration from Shahid Beheshti University, a master’s in both industrial engineering and public administration, and a bachelor’s in chemistry. Before assuming his current position, he served as Deputy Minister of Petroleum and as CEO and chairman of prominent energy companies, such as Khark Petrochemical Company, Iran LNG Company, and Petrochemical Commercial Company. He also served as the Iranian ambassador to Brazil and Bolivia. The author of six publications, he is a faculty member at the Petroleum University of Technology and teaches at several Iranian universities.

How do you assess the role that IDRO has played in the development of the industrial sector here in Iran?

We have been involved in around 250 projects in Iran in the last 50 years. Our task is to invest in megaprojects and then privatize them after three years. We also work on projects that the private sector is not capable of or interested in. Our main responsibility is to invest in the railway, high-tech, and energy sectors. We also focus on educating young managers on the future of the country. We have around 37 projects in progress, amounting to about USD5 billion in financing. After the JCPOA, we have been in talks with large companies and have signed around 19 MoUs thus far. Around eight of them resulted in an agreement and are in the execution phase. We have six years of cooperation with South Korea in the automobile industry. Investing in the automobile industry is one of our main policies at IDRO, and we are a major shareholder in the two largest car manufacturers in Iran. We have around 80 million people in Iran, the majority of whom are young and want a good, affordable vehicle. We have to work on bringing that to them. We signed several agreements in the automobile industry including Peugeot, Citroën, Renault, Hyundai, and Mercedes Benz. In cooperation with Peugeot, we have started a production line that has already reached the market.

How does IDRO fulfill its role as a pioneer in propelling Iran to become the regional industry and innovation hub?

We invest in science and obtain technologies and configure them for our own use. We are proactive when it comes to technology. There are more than 3,000 knowledge-based companies in Iran, with young, educated, and talented experts. It is a fundamental part of IDRO's business to help these companies and show them the way. The second phase is financing and fundraising. We have many SMEs in the private sector that have problems with financing. We help and guide them to attract the necessary funds. We want to use our credibility to solve the private sector's problems and provide guarantees to the banking system. Our policy is not to dominate the industrial sector, but empower the private sector.

How can IDRO facilitate international industrial conglomerates in doing business in Iran?

For example, Alstom, a well-known French company, wants to come to Iran and work with the private sector, and IDRO acts as a mediator to connect it to companies in the private sector. In Iranian petroleum contracts, one of the terms is that foreigners and global companies must have one local partner. Almost all of them want to work with IDRO as their local partner. IDRO is thus a bridge for global companies and investors entering Iran.

What is your outlook for the next year, and what do you expect for IDRO and the industry?

I am optimistic about the future. We are planning a new way and are currently in the middle of this effort. After the JCPOA, we started a dialog between Iran and other countries and are seeing different high-level delegations coming to Iran. As we move forward, we will see more results from the JCPOA. We have around USD4 billion in foreign investment in the industry and mining sectors. Projects worth USD1.5 billion have been executed in the last 18 months. More will come. Inflation has fallen from 45% to around 10%, though we still have problems with our industry due to a lack of liquidity. Our banks are not able to inject the required money into the development of SMEs or industry, and thus we need to have changes in this regard. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance has a responsibility to support the banking system. If all these improve, we will certainly move in the right direction.