The Need for Private Industry

As reported this morning on Iraq Business News, a former Minister for Planning has spoken out about the need to diversify the Iraqi economy away from its current dependence on oil and gas.

Mahdi Al-Hafez told Asharq Al-Awsat that Iraq must adopt “a policy of diversifying the economy and developing other productive sectors such as industry, agriculture, communications and tourism”.

Importantly, he stressed the need to develop the private sector, which currently accounts for only 33 percent of GDP (and much of that 33 percent involves contracting to the government and its agencies).

While it would be naive to suggest that Iraq could ever free itself from dependence on the very important energy sector — at least not while there is oil still in the ground — there is a huge need to build up other successful industries, and to allow private individuals and businesses to flourish outside of state control.

Just another point to be borne in mind in the run-up to the parliamentary elections at the end of the month.

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