AKnews reports that the Vice Chairman of the Babil Investment Commission has complained that Iraq’s investment law has been “paralyzed” by the state’s failure to implement it effectively in ministries and government departments.
Abbas al-Tai told the agency that Iraq is one of the best places in the world for investors as it lacks many basic commodities such as housing, sewerage systems and electricity, but the government’s delay in adopting the investment law has left foreign investors reluctant to implement projects in the country.
“Iraq depends mainly on its oil revenues and a large part of public expenditure goes on salaries that take the largest share of the state budget,” he said.
“Investment is the best solution to address the deteriorating economic situation in Iraq and radically resolve the problem of unemployment” Tai continued, emphasizing that it would depend on “the state’s encouragement and support to set up investment projects.”
Tai attributed the delays in effectively adopting the investment law to lengthy bureaucratic procedures and the long time periods required to attain administrative approval.
“The investment law is good,” he said, “but its implementation and activation are the problems we face in our work”.
Giving the example of a residential construction project approved by the Babil Investment Commission but rejected by the federal Ministry of Municipalities, Tai complained: “The Kawthar housing project was obstructed by all government departments in the province,” and that the Ministry of Municipalities “gave itself the right to decide about investment projects although the Investment Authority is the only party in the country authorized in this matter according to law.”
“The Ministry of Municipalities has hindered our projects completely.”
The solution to this problem according to Tai is the establishment and activation of an investment body that includes representatives of government departments and ministries that has the power to facilitate the implementation of investment projects.
In conclusion, Tai called on the federal government to “…take swift action to resolve this problem and instruct the relevant government institutions to adopt the investment law to avoid future consequences on investment in Iraq.”