Iraq Needs More Statesmen and Fewer Politicians

We reported last week on the withdrawal of the Kazakhstan-based KazMunaiGas from negotiations on the Akkas gas field in Anbar province.

This week the head of KMG, Askar Balzhanov, shed more light on the background to the company’s decision, and it reflects very poorly on the Iraqi authorities:

One of the reasons for our withdrawal from the Akkas project in Iraq is that the local authority, where the field is located, and the central government of Iraq had different points of view on the project. And this disagreement caused our withdrawal.

While the nature of the internal wrangling has long been known, it is significant that a major international company has chosen to make public the fact that political bickering is costing the country and its people money.

It can be argued that politicians at the parliamentary level have put their differences aside in the national interest in order to form a government, but it is also undeniable that the result is a bloated cabinet that took far longer to put together than anyone thought reasonable.

One economist estimates that nearly $500 billion has been lost over the past eight years in the oil sector alone, due to poor public sector administration standing in the way of progress.

It’s clear that Iraq needs more statesmen and fewer politicians.

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