Iraq to Spend $680m Restoring War-Battered Factories

Iraq plans to spend around $680 million in 2011 to renovate its dilapidated factories and start new projects, a senior Industry and Minerals Ministry official told Reuters on Monday.

Haifa Hamid, head of the investment department in the ministry, said the economic reform plan was focused mainly on renovating existing factories or establishing new ones under a private-public partnership plan.

"From 2011, we have allocated 800 billion Iraqi dinars ($684.2 million). Six hundred billion Iraqi dinars is for the rehabilitation. The remainder, about 200 billion Iraqi dinars, is for new projects," she told Reuters in an interview.

"We are thinking of cooperating with the private sector. The participation of the public sector should be limited. Later on, even that percentage of participation will be reduced gradually (and) it will be transferred to the private sector."

Many of Iraq's 240 factories were looted in the aftermath of the 2003 U.S. invasion. Some are outdated or located in areas still controlled by Islamist insurgents.

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