Mohammad Baqer Nowbakht who was speaking to the press with a focus on government’s figures on economic parameters, gave a qualified assessment of the rise in public budget; “the government budget or public spending has been multiplied compared to that in 2013; we believe the manner of allocation of the budget has also significantly improved,” he told the press.
Nowbakht lamented the large government and hence large public spending as a major problem the governments including Rouhani’s cabinet of hope and prudence had been facing; “with a large number of staff, the government had been in difficulty paying salaries; other challenges are government’s liabilities in Targeted Subsidies Plan. The added burden on government is unfinished construction projects,” he added.
“To tackle these problems, the government should be converted to an agile and small but effectively run public sector, an ambitious plan already in the air by 5,000 layoffs,” Nowbakht told the press, turning to more political issue of relations with Saudi Arabia and continued the heated debate which had for a time lost much of its heat; “on Saudi Arabian conduct, government’s position is clear; we engaged in a more active and dynamic foreign policy in Yemen; we have an upper hand in the region; Saudis on the other hand, has been implicated with supporting ISIL and other terrorist groups; they are now on defensive, they should ask themselves why terrorist groups perished while their lavish support squandered money on petty extremists and the kingdom’s adventurism in Syria; in Yemen, the major loser is Saudi Arabia; they had been engaged in blame shifting and thus spewed hatred in their verbal attacks,” he emphasized.
On Asghar Farhadi’s Oscars trophy, Nowbakht hailed Farhadi’s decision to shun the event which he believed was a nationalistic decision; “Farhadi should receive his deserved honor and gratification,” he said.
On dual-nationality government officials, a subject of much controversy, Cabinet spokesperson averred that the Ministry of Intelligence was the sole authority to decide on the issue, a decision which should be accepted.