One of the things we love to do in Iran, is fighting corruption. And we do it really good.
Few years ago, to fight smuggling cell-phones and smartphones, the Government launched a plan according to which any mobile phone imported to the country must have been registered. Initially, the program created lots of confusion as to what may happen to the current phones in use and how should people register them. But eventually the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology succeeded to run the registration of all phones using various methods.
Additionally, any cell-phone coming from abroad would work only one month without registration and that made the smuggling of the cell-phones even tougher. Not even passengers travelling abroad could not bring more than one phone to the country without paying the import tax.
“Today it is almost impossible to find a smartphone in the market which has been smuggled”, explains Shahruz 31, an Iphone-shop owner in Paytakht Computer Centre in Mirdamad Avenue.
The program was one of the most successful ones against corruption. However, the problem with corruption, is that if you fight it quite seriously, at a certain point it will vanish. And we will be left with no corruption to fight.
But don’t lose hope.
There is a big difference between corruption and oil; if you extract the oil efficiently you empty the wells, but this is not true in the case of corruption.
Unlike oil which would take millions of years to be generated, corruption can be generated quite quickly and also plentifully.
There are of course different methods to generate corruption, but we have chosen a proven one to share with you.
Here it is, but note that it needs to be done at a governmental level to work properly;
- Select one or more industries for which you wish to generate corruption.
- Chose certain procedures for which the business people in those industries had to go through to do certain activities.
- Make those procedures as complicated, costly and time-consuming as you can.
- Then wait for a while for the targeted business people to notice the changes and start thinking to get around the red tape illegally instead of going with the legal procedures.
- Now you will have enough corruption to fight against.
So, going back to our example of fighting mobile-phone smuggling, lately the Government announced that the import of cell-phones worth more than 300 euros should be banned.
“Smartphones worth more than 300 euros, make only 10 to 15 percent of the mobile phone market in the country”, says Ali Alian, Spokesman of Mobile-Phone Importers’ Association. “Previously the government annually assigned 2.4 billion euros to the import of cell-phones. However, this year and because of the shortage in foreign cash, this figure has been reduced by 40%.”
Soon after, the prices in mobile market jumped significantly. Prices for iPhones Pro Max, Samsung S10 Light and Ultra and some other models went up by 30%.
Although few days after, the Ministry of Industry and Trade said that such ban does not exists, many shops and importers claim to the contrary.
However, the complications created in this market gives corruption a good chance and the ensuing fight against it!
The only defect in this example is that authorities believe that by falling purchasing power in Iran, consumers automatically won’t go after smartphones higher than 300 euros. Low demand will also decrease the chance of the phones to be smuggled. Considering the exchange rate in the past months, this argument sounds quite possible. Even the author of this newsletter keeps working with her quasi-damaged cell-phone because prices for new ones do not really make sense.
Here, as consumers, we must apologize for our little contribution in “corruption generating” plans.