Irqai News

Wednesday Evening Iraq Economic News Highlights 4-5-23

Kurdistan Government: The Oil Agreement Is A Basis For Approving The Budget And Preparing The Oil And Gas Law

Calendar 2023/04/05  Today, Wednesday, the Kurdistan government confirmed that the oil agreement between the center and the region is the basis for approving the budget and preparing the oil and gas law.  A statement by the Kurdistan government stated, “The region’s cabinet held today, Wednesday, its weekly meeting headed by Prime Minister Masrour Barzani, and discussed a number of issues on its agenda, foremost of which is the recent agreement with the federal government.”

In the first paragraph of the agenda, Barzani highlighted “the results that resulted from the visit of a high-ranking delegation headed by the Prime Minister to Baghdad and the signing of the agreement between the Kurdistan government and the federal government to resume exporting the region’s oil.”

Barzani pointed out that “the agreement represents an important achievement and another step towards strengthening relations between the Kurdistan region and the federal government,” praising “the efforts of the Federal Prime Minister, Muhammad Shia’ al-Sudani, and his endeavors to solve problems between the region and the federal government, and he also praised the negotiating delegation for being able to reach this point.”

Agreement without waiving any of the rights guaranteed by the constitution to the region.

He explained, “The Kurdistan region was forced to export oil after federal government officials cut off the region’s salaries and financial dues in previous years,” stressing that “the procedures related to oil export are legal and consistent with the constitution, and that the Kurdistan Regional Government exported oil within the framework of the rights constitutionally guaranteed to the region.”

Barzani expressed, “Hope that the agreement will be fully implemented as soon as possible, making it a good basis for initiating the implementation of the budget law and preparing a draft federal oil and gas law.”

And the statement continued, “In the second paragraph of the agenda of the meeting, the Minister of the Region for Parliamentary Affairs, Vala Farid, and the Minister of Health, Saman Barzanji, presented a brief on the goal, elements and characteristics of the (Ministry of Health in the Kurdistan Region) draft law.”

The statement pointed out that “the draft law aims to advance health services, raise their level, reform the health system in a way that serves the citizens, and organize procedures for work in the public and private sectors, taking into account the rights of patients.”

And he added, “After putting forward a number of observations regarding it, it was decided to review the draft law, taking into account the observations and suggestions submitted with the aim of enriching it, provided that it is voted on at the next meeting of the Council of Ministers.”

The statement noted that “the last paragraph of the meeting was devoted to highlighting the rise in the prices of basic commodities and supplies in the market despite the low price of the dollar against the dinar, and how to monitor and control the rise in prices in the market.”

In this regard, Minister of Interior Reber Ahmed, Chief of the Cabinet Office Omid Sabah and the concerned ministers presented the necessary clarifications, information and recommendations to control the markets, stabilize prices and ease the burdens of living on the shoulders of citizens.

Read “Achieved Achievement”… 6 Controversial Points That Impede The Passage Of The Financial Budget

Information / special.  Today, Wednesday, the head of the Summit Center for Strategic Studies, Haider Al-Moussawi, identified six points that may hinder the passage of the 2023 budget, and while he confirmed the presence of political forces trying to disrupt it, he considered the first reading of the law “a foregone conclusion.”

Al-Moussawi told the information agency, “The first reading of the budget bill inside the dome of parliament is a foregone conclusion, to define it and explain the main points in it, and then the second reading comes to discuss these points and object to them or approve them, and then the vote takes place.”

He added, “The most prominent sticking points are the legislation of the oil and gas law,” wondering, “Will the last law be linked with the approval of the budget?”

He renewed his question: “Is there a petrodollar law planned for the southern governorates?” Considering that the debt has become too large for the federal government, as it is an electoral entitlement, especially since the representatives of the south stressed the need for a commitment to implement this law.

The director of the summit center explained: “As for the other aspect, which will witness a discussion, and perhaps there will be a fundamental change through two points; the first is the price of a barrel of oil specified in the budget, which is estimated at $70, especially since there is a decline in international oil prices, which will increase the current deficit.” .

And on the second point, Mousawi said: “The other dispute revolves around the image of the budget and its presentation in a three-year manner, that is, for three years. Will Parliament agree to pass it in this image, especially since it is possible for the situation to change during this period?”

As for the leave of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Muhammad al-Halbousi, he asked: “What is the main reason behind al-Halbousi’s leave for 15 days, and the budget was not presented during this period, in the parliament’s sessions,” pointing to “the presence of some political forces that are trying to obstruct and delay its passage.”

And he concluded his speech, saying: “There are many visions and many disagreements that may prevent passing the budget or sending it to the government again for amendment.”

Today, Wednesday, the media department of the House of Representatives set the date for the first session to read the budget law inside the parliament dome, amid political and popular anticipation. Because of the extreme importance of the law.   LINK

American Institute: Cash Exchange Has Caused Billions Of Dollars To Be Wasted In Iraq

Posted On2023-04-05 By Sotaliraq   Translated by: Hamed Ahmed   A report by the American (Brookings) Institute for Studies stated that twenty years after the American invasion of Iraq, the seventh Prime Minister of Iraq, Muhammad Shia Al-Sudani, declares that corruption will be one of the biggest challenges facing the country, describing it as “no less dangerous than the threat of terrorism.”

And the report, translated by (Al-Mada), continued, “Many of Iraq’s 43 million citizens agree with this opinion.”

He pointed out that “public opinion polls and protest movements indicate this, and the Iraqis blame the quota system that was adopted after the American invasion of the country in 2003 in distributing positions among the elites of the ruling political blocs and their wealth at the expense of the citizen.”

And he stressed the possibility of “returning corruption in its chronology to the post-2003 stage, the start of the campaign to rebuild Iraq and the flow of financial aid by the international coalition led by the United States and donor countries, with the absence of follow-up and accountability with regard to the conclusion of contracts and the disbursement of funds within public sector institutions.”

And the report continues, “During the period between 2003 and 2014, more than 220 billion dollars were spent on the reconstruction campaign alone, and it was punctuated by more than 74 billion dollars in foreign aid, in addition to the violence that undermined reconstruction.”

And he warned, “These efforts have also been hindered by the state of general waste by spending money and rampant corruption at all levels.”

And the report indicated that “a large number of aid project contractors with Iraqi officials and American personalities were involved in corruption during the implementation phase of reconstruction projects that did not achieve anything.”

He added, “Based on the estimates of the report of the Special Inspector General of the Iraq Reconstruction Campaign, at least $8 billion has been wasted out of a total of more than $60 billion allocated for reconstruction, marred by cases of fraud and bribery.”

The report considered that “the aid funds that were allocated for projects to rebuild the electricity and health sectors and rehabilitate the infrastructure were a source of personal benefits and a waste of money without accountability.”

And he continues, “While cases of fraud and manipulation were prosecuted for a number of American contractors and persons, many other cases were not caught due to poor monitoring and follow-up by the US government, which made it very difficult to know the extent of the amounts wasted as a result of fraud and forgery.”

The report notes that “the anti-corruption initiatives and efforts that were launched in Iraq and after the invasion have proven their weakness in holding accountable people, individuals and officials who seek refuge in the party and the political blocs to which they belong.”

He stressed, “Major ministries were filled during the post-war reconstruction phase with cadres whose nepotism and partisan loyalties were a criterion for appointing them rather than their competence.”

As a result, there has often been mismanagement in dealing with aid funds allocated for reconstruction projects once they are completed and handed over to the government,” the report stated.

He stressed that “many projects that were said to be successful have turned out to be useless or without maintenance due to corruption and lack of accountability.”

The report noted that “Iraq’s public sector has become, over the years, a tool for nepotism and an increase in the number of civil servants appointed to higher positions called special grades, which are governed by quotas in choosing people and their party affiliations.”

He stated, “Twenty years after the invasion of Iraq, public services in the country are still deteriorating and weak due to corruption.”

And the report goes on, “According to the latest transparency index report, the public sector in Iraq was ranked in the 23rd sequence as the most corrupt sector in the world for the year 2022, and this constituted an improvement from its classification, which it was in 2006 as the second most corrupt sector in the world.

He stated, “This situation has been a cause in recent years for street protests, especially among young people, expressing their weariness and dissatisfaction with the effects of corruption on public services and the economy.”

And the report continued, “Analysts and observers recommended that the country move away from dealing with the cash exchange of funds adopted in economic transactions as a solution to curb cases of corruption.” And the report indicated that “the administration of the Sudanese government began working on this issue under pressure from the United States.”

And he warned, “This is despite the fact that the United States is the one that participated directly in structuring the banking sector in Iraq, and it is the one that introduced the currency auction system for the dollar in the central bank, which later became a means of money laundering and smuggling it to neighboring countries.”

The report stated, “The loose money that accompanied the stage of post-war reconstruction projects has contributed to making the public sector a center of corruption.”

And the report went on to say that “awareness and understanding of corruption is an important part of helping Iraq to launch the required reforms in this sector in order to build beneficial public services for its citizens.”     About the American Brookings Institution  LINK

The Central Bank Calls For Accuracy In Conveying News Related To Its Monetary Policy

Economy News-Baghdad  Today, Wednesday, the Central Bank of Iraq called on the media to be careful in reporting news related to its monetary policy.

A bank statement stated, “It calls on the media and all relevant parties to be accurate in reporting news related to the bank and its monetary policy, and to adopt what is published on its official website in order to avoid misleading news that confuses the market in favor of foreign currency speculators.”

The Central Bank Of Iraq Invites The Media

Economy  |Baghdad today – Baghdad  Today, Wednesday, the Central Bank of Iraq invited the media.

The bank’s media said in a statement received by (Baghdad Today) that “the Central Bank of Iraq calls on the media to be careful in reporting news related to its monetary policy.”

The bank added, according to the statement, that “misleading news confuses the market in favor of speculators in foreign currency.”   LINK