By John Lee.
Iraq's Minister for Municipalities and Public Works has told Reuters that the country is to spend $1.5 billion annually for two to three years on 50 water and sewerage projects, which will be open to work by foreign contractors.
"We will ask companies to bid for them in 2014 ... By the end of 2013, these projects will have passed the planning phase and will be needing implementation."
Mr Adil Mhoder [Adil Muhudir Radi al-Maliki] added that the government was taking steps to encourage foreign contractors to set up in Iraq, including facilitating the issuing of visas to businessmen and reducing bureaucracy, including speeding up the process of awarding contracts.
The government has already authorised heads of diplomatic missions to issue visas for businessmen and investors within 48 hours, he said. It is also offering letters of credit that could be used by contractors who need to import equipment and other supplies.
(Picture: Nasiriyah Water Treatment Plant. Credit: USACE)