BBC Monitoring Service
Feb 13, 2001
Text of report in English by Iranian news agency IRNA
Tehran, 13 February: An economist said Monday [12 February]: In the past 20 years, the per capita income in Iran has dropped while the value-added of the agriculture sector has remained the same.
Speaking in a gathering to "Assess Income and Poverty Conditions" held at the Rehabilitation and Welfare Science University, Nakhjavani added that in the past 20 years the personal investment of Iranians has not increased.
Referring to the figures released by Statistical Information Centre of Iran, he said: The annual income of rural and urban households have dropped by 20 per cent between 1984-98.
Expenditure on food is lower by 41 per cent and 18 per cent for urban and rural households, respectively, in the past 15 years, Nakhjavani stated.
The trend shows that the household have substituted grains for meat in this period, Nakhjavani said, adding that consumption of meat plummeted 41 per cent in the period 1984-98.
While expenditures by rural household has been less affected by the fluctuations in oil prices, the figure is 80 per cent for their urban counterparts, he remarked.
He added that reform of tax and social security systems are short-term solutions to the problem of poverty.
"We should not expect to reduce poverty in the short-term, but, efforts have to be undertaken so that people's problems will be lessened", he added.
Another keynote speaker and economic expert Fariborz Ra'is-Dana said that over 30 per cent of people live under conditions of absolute poverty and 50 per cent are considered to be in relative poverty.
He said that until the distribution of income, wealth and power is reformed, poverty will not be alleviated.
Ra'is-Dana added that in 1978, 33 per cent of population were considered poor while currently 60 per cent are below the poverty line.
Sometimes lack of housing and proper training puts people in the danger of falling into extreme poverty, he stated.
The two-day seminar is held at the University of Rehabilitation and Welfare Science beginning Monday.