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Iran Revives Planning Agency To Enact Economic Reforms

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will reestablish the Management and Planning Organization, which former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had dissolved in 2006.
EDITORS' NOTE: Reuters and other foreign media are subject to Iranian restrictions on their ability to report, film or take pictures in Tehran. 

Construction cranes work on a high rise buildings in the foothills of the Alborz mountains in north Tehran April 15, 2010. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has asked 5 million Tehranis to evacuate the capital since they know their sprawling metropolis is due for a massive earthquake. When the last major earthquake hit, in 1831, Tehran was tiny compared to the metro

President Hassan Rouhani and his economic team have stated unambiguously that they will revive the Management and Planning Organization (MPO) — an entity that was dissolved by former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2006. While the new administration is deliberating on how to structure the new MPO, it is worthwhile assessing what kind of a state organization would best respond to the needs of the country’s economy and business environment.

The MPO was created through the merger of two old state organizations in 1997: the Planning and Budget Organization (PBO: in charge of drafting and supervising annual budgets and five-year development plans) and the Organization for Administration and State Recruitment (in charge of all human resource issues within the state sector). It should be noted that the PBO was originally established in 1948 based on the advice of US advisers who were helping Iran build a modern state in post-WWII era. After the merger in 1997, the MPO played a significant role in the allocation of provincial, organizational and project budgets and as such was an important stakeholder in the financial processes within the government. It was so significant within the state structure that the head of the MPO had the rank of a vice president and was also a member of the Supreme National Security Council. Before Ahmadinejad’s arrival on the scene, the main criticism at the MPO was that its experts were out of touch with local and provincial realities and that budgets were allocated without a clear understanding of local issues and most times based on political bargaining processes.

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