By John Lee.
Iraq's National Investment Commission (NIC) has identified five main issues hindering investment in Iraq:
- Not applying the One Stop Shop (OSS) law as it should be applied and denying the OSS representatives the required authorities to decision making;
- Difficulties in allocating lands and being subject to interpretation and wishes of various bodies;
- Problems with lack of funding and the banking system;
- Political quotas and interference in the provincial councils; and,
- The spread of administrative corruption.
The full statement from the NIC can be read below:
The National Investment Commission holds an elaborated meeting in the presence of the Secretary General of the Ministers Council
The National Investment Commission (NIC) held on Tuesday 27/11/2018 an expanded workshop devoted to discussing the investment map of Iraq for 2019 in the presence of the Secretary General of the Council of Ministers Dr. Mahdi Alallaq, the head of the Secretariat of the Coordinating Committee in the Provinces Mr. Turhan Al Mufti and Chairmen of a number of Provincial Investment Commissions in addition to representatives of a number of Ministries and concerned state institutions.
NIC Chairman emphasized in his speech that this workshop comes to complete the first meeting, which included representatives of investment activity in various ministries and departments to discuss the investment map for 2019 in response to the invitation of the Prime Minister Dr. Adel Abdul Mahdi to discuss the reality of investment situation in Iraq and develop effective solutions for issues facing investment projects in all governorates across the country. .
He also determined five main issues that participated in hindering investment in Iraq, three of them are related to investment law. The first, is not applying the One Stop Shop (OSS) law as it should be applied and denying the OSS representatives the required authorities to decision making. The second, is difficulties in allocating lands and being subject to interpretation and wishes of various bodies. Funding and banking systems represent the third issue for not supporting economic projects.
Two other big problems deviated the investment path and its law, Political quotas and interference in the provincial councils and the negative impact on investment work, as well as the spread of some administrative corruption.
NIC Chairman called for the importance of developing realistic and feasible plans for the next phase due to the possibility of world oil prices fluctuation, which forces those who practice economic activities in the country to work in accordance with the system of diversified and non-monolithic economy and bridging the widening gap between the parties involved in this activity on one hand and owners of capital, companies and businessmen on the other hand. This reflects a lack of accurate understanding to the spirit of the articles of the investment law.
Dr. Mahdi Al-Alallaq, Secretary-General of the Council of Ministers reviewed a number of issues that are challenging the investment process in Iraq, including the increasing unemployment rates and total dependence on the government sector instead of the private sector represented in large inflation in the number of workers in the form of contracts and daily wages in the various government departments. Fixing them in permanent jobs as governmental employees became a real entitlement to them but represents a major embarrassment to the budget.
All this is due to weak legislations that encourages working for the private sector such as social security and financial stability that enhance the workers feeling being equal to any governmental employee. Also, many relevant state departments are very conservatives regarding allocated lands for investment which in time created a huge obstacle to go on with investment projects.
He called to promote the investment opportunities already presented in Al Kuwait International Conference for Rebuilding Iraq last February and earned a big international interest. He also assured the Council of Minsters’ support for those opportunities being the ideal solution for the Iraqi economy in this phase.
the head of the Secretariat of the Coordinating Commission for the Provinces, Mr. Turhan Al Mufti, asked the heads of the Provinces Investment Commissions to suggest the required mechanisms to deal with the investment departments in the ministries and other state institutions and thus contribute to bringing the views closer between the two parties, stressing that the third meeting will be between the concerned parties in investment in ministries and to accelerate adopting the necessary decisions to achieve the expected qualitative boom in the investment sector in Iraq in 2019
NIC Chairmen listened to a number of proposals and opinions from the heads of the provinces investment commissions, during which a number of things were covered, including the need to facilitate the bureaucratic procedures that the project goes through and the number of entities that inspect it and blackmailing investors and delays which makes many investors leave the country. They also called for reducing external interventions in projects and reactivate the Department of Investors’ Protection.