During a meeting with the Council of Ministers, they asked me: "What is your plan for Basra over the next four years?" I answered: "I do not have a four-year plan. [Such a plan] would be an electoral plan. Rather, I know that there are five-year, 10-year or 20-year plans."
Al-Monitor: Where have things gone wrong?
Nasrawi: First and foremost, the error has been in planning. We have a primary design for our city, but we don't have a primary plan. For this reason, strategic visions have been absent. When I took office I discovered there was chaos at the level of planning. The construction of bridges, sewage systems and other things were not conducted in a studied manner, but rather an arbitrary one.
There was no vision about the future of residential, industrial and commercial areas and how to develop them. For example, the local government will hire a contractor to pave the streets of a certain area, yet when the contractor goes to carry out the work, he discovers that there is no sanitation or sewage system. Thus, we're back at square one, awaiting the completion of a new design plan for the sewage system — things remain as they are.
The second problem we face in Basra, and in Iraq in general, is the lack of a scientific vision for design. I will say in all honesty — and I take responsibility for my words: We do not have Iraqi cadres capable of providing reports, surveys and design [plans] that adhere to international standards, and people do not resort to experts. The third problem is the companies executing [these projects], the majority of which are failed companies.
For example, after years of confusion, the Iraqi state decided that major projects — that is, those whose costs exceed $100 million — must be implemented by foreign companies. But what happened after that? Local [Iraqi] companies registered in other countries, changed their identities and then received contracts for the same projects.
Al-Monitor: Do you mean that these projects were awarded to local companies again?
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