Iraq Industrial Sector Attracts Growing Investment

By John Lee.

Private investment in Iraq's industrial sector is expected to reach $7 billion this year, up from $3 billion in 2011, reports Reuters.

Adel Karim, the deputy industry minister, told the news agency that the country is reaping the rewards of opening up its financial and industrial sectors and luring foreign investment and expertise to revive its dilapidated factories.

He added that Iraq needs investment in every sector, and has the budget to enable it to rebuild.

The country's industrial sector currently contributes only 2 percent to the country's GDP, but Karim believes that if the political and the security situation calmed down, it would be possible to reach 20 to 25 percent in three or four years.

Karim said the ultimate goal was the gradual privatization of all 260 government factories, which are run by more than 70 state-owned companies.

"Our main goal is to hand over our companies to the private sector, because the private sector is more active ... but our first step is production-sharing deals," Karim said

The ministry has signed between 40 and 50 production-sharing contracts with local and foreign companies over the past two years, including German, French and Turkish companies.

It recently signed a $1 billion contract with Turkey's UB Holding to restore an iron and steel factory that was looted during the 2003 invasion in the southern province of Basra.

Karim also said the ministry is close to signing contracts worth a combined $1 billion with three Turkish companies to restore three cement factories in northern and southern Iraq.

(Source: Reuters)

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