Basra’s Next Battle: Defeating Corruption and Bureaucracy

RT: Bureaucracy is a challenge everywhere. Is the situation getting better in Basra?

Samir: No it is still predominant and affecting the life of the citizens.

RT: And Nasrawi’s plans, such as hiring Hill International--this is going to help?

Samir: They are going to do the engineering for the bigger projects. And he’s also thinking of signing a contract with another foreign company to supervise and inspect the quality of work coming out and trying to award this work to foreign companies. I am sure this will help.

RT: So one of the big things with Hill International, is to beat corruption.

Samir: Yes, I was talking to governor Nasrawi a few months ago and we came to the same conclusion. The problem is not only bad planning, it is bad local governance. Frankly speaking, we don’t have planning, even in the ministry of planning. As you know you cannot do any project or work without strategy, you have to plan first what to do before you start.

You mentioned that Governor Nasrawi was talking about a street paving project that had gone wrong and that is a good example. They do paving, then they come and dig for sewage and electrical cables, so that means you damage the paving again! So they should plan for that, you know what to do, you have new pipeline for sewage and new cables, then you do the paving! It should be the final stage. Nasrawi was right. He’s good and it seems to me he wants to work very hard.

RT: He used to work with The Ammar Foundation (a charity that was started to help the Marsh Arabs, who now work on health clinics and other local projects. They are currently funded by Shell among other organizations.)

Samir: Yes he did, when he was a refugee in Iran, when he was appointed by Baroness Nicholson. Everyone was so annoyed when Britain closed the consulate. The people in Basra, they want to go to the UK to do business, so it used to be very easy for us to get a visa, through this consulate, through the British embassy in Kuwait, and we apply at the British consulate in Basra and they take our visa to Kuwait and get the visa within 3 or 4 days. Now it takes more than 2 months to get a visa to the embassy in Amman! That’s one thing, the other thing is a lot of British were working in Basra, so I don’t know why they closed the consulate in Basra.

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14 Responses to Basra’s Next Battle: Defeating Corruption and Bureaucracy

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    9th January 2014 at 12:41 #

    Bureaucracy & red tape.... Jeez I hope they really mean what they're saying in Basrah... in Baghdad just walked out of the Oil Ministry earlier today and the set-up there is a joke... it's literally a set-up for failure.. Try proposing an investment project in Iraq's oil & gas sector and you'll be aiming for Kurdistan very shortly after doing a few laps on the oil ministry's red tape racket..!!

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    10th January 2014 at 05:44 #

    Instead of Samir, you should get candid comments from international companies executing projects in Basra. First, the bureaucracy and red tape will kill the project and, if that is not enough, the inconsistency between protestations / promises and actual action will. And, if even that is not enough, constantly changing stands on every issue will complete the job.
    How many foreign companies have actually been able to complete a contract within the original time limit and how many have finally abandoned their contracts altogether, cut their losses and walked away? It would be interesting to see, if there is any way to get these statistics together.
    Why is it that Basra is unable to utilise it's budgets fully, year after year?
    Basra has great potential. What a pity that the resources are not being properly utilised to better the lot of it's people.

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    10th January 2014 at 09:18 #

    True - And even friends from Basrah would agree: What a dump yard to be living on, yet ironically the primary source for Iraq's crude exports.. Opec's 2nd largest nation !!

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    15th January 2014 at 08:06 #

    Visited Basra for the oil and gas exhibition in December 2013. Was last there 30 years ago. Looked better then. But at least the people have maintained their good cheer and hospitable nature. for a visual journey, visit