Clearly, Abdul-Mahdi is alluding to the ouster and prosecution of former CBI Governor Sinan al-Shabibi in October of last year, on charges of corruption and wasting of public money. Subsequently, Abdel Basset Turki was assigned as the interim governor.
Abdul-Mahdi believes that “if concepts and measures are not altered in tandem with the changing of regimes, they will clash — as is currently happening. When we abandon the official exchange rate for the sake of supply and demand; [when we halt] restraining transfers, save for a few exceptions, and we instead lift the restrictions after fulfilling the requirements; when we seek to become a civil economy and a market economy, only then, when the strong dinar is not allowed to meet its needs in dollars, will the economy be weakened.”
Abdul-Mahdi pointed out that this “would result in [existing] capital drifting away and impede other capital from flowing in. It will shake the world’s trust in the dinar and weaken its value, thus hindering the dinar from achieving stability locally and [entering] foreign markets. [Subsequently], the dependency on foreign markets will be further highlighted; inflation, corruption and fraud will ensue.”
Abdul-Mahdi believes that there are many examples which support his views. These include “the companies that are hastily established abroad and are ready to provide whomever wishes with ‘bills’ ratified by embassies and companies, in order to facilitate monetary transfer for the purposes of importing [dollars].” He also notes [that there are those who] “acquire US dollars through collecting passports. These passports are not for actual travel purposes, but to benefit from the difference in exchange rate. [Whomever holds an Iraqi passport can buy $5,000 a month from private banks at a special rate.] All of this is accomplished via additional charges that the economy and Iraqi citizens will pay for.”
Omar al-Shaher is a contributor to Al-Monitor’s Iraq Pulse. His writing has appeared in a wide range of publications including France’s LeMonde, the Iraqi Alesbuyia magazine, Egypt’s Al-Ahaly and the Elaph website.