Provinces to Manage More of Own Oil Wealth?

By Omar al-Shaher for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

An Iraqi researcher has advised the councils of oil- and gas-producing provinces to take advantage of a loophole in the new amendment to the provincial law recently passed by the Iraqi parliament in order to “issue a law of oil and gas specific to each province, and repeal, retroactively cancel and renegotiate the Oil Ministry contracts (service contracts) in compliance with the choices and priorities of each province.”

The Iraqi parliament voted on June 23, on the second amendment of the Law of Provinces not associated in a region, Law No. 21 for 2008. According to several MPs, this law “addresses the overlap between the powers of local governments and the central government, gives broad legislative and regulatory powers to the provinces and will have a positive impact on all provinces.”

Article 2 of Paragraph 6 of the new amendment states: “The joint disciplines stipulated in Articles 112, 113 and 114 of the Constitution are managed in coordination and cooperation between the federal government and the local governments. In case of dispute between the two, the Law of Provinces not associated in a region gets the priority in accordance with the provisions of Article 115 of the Constitution.”

According to the researcher, Nebras al-Kadhimi, stipulating that the priority goes to the provincial law in the event of conflict between the central government and the province allows provinces to legislate their own laws to exploit oil production.

Kadhimi wrote on his Facebook page, “I have advice to give to the … provincial councils in Basra, Nasiriyah (Dhi Qar province), Amarah (Maysan province) and Kut (Wasit province) in light of the new powers set forth in the amendment of Law No. 21 for 2008, especially Article 2 of Paragraph 6.There is a large gap that you can benefit from. You can actually issue a law on oil and gas that is specific to your province.”

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