Four Ideas to Improve the Business Climate in Iraq

Two business people with considerable experience in Iraq have shared their thoughts on how the Iraqi government could help to improve the climate for business in the country.

Responding to a question from Iraq Business News (IBN) at the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC)'s Tech Forum in Dubai earlier today, Laura Khudairi, of Iraq Venture Partners (IVP), suggested two simple measures to boost commercial activity:

  • Simplify and streamline company registration. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has already implemented an online system that is much quicker and cheaper, but the Federal Government in Baghdad has yet to do something similar. Related to this, the registrations should be valid country-wide, regardless of where in Iraq they occur.
  • Remove the requirement for minimum 51-percent local ownership. Describing this as archaic and not beneficial to the local economy, Ms Khudairi said this requirement is a deal-breaker for many foreign businesses that could bring a lot of value to Iraq.

Hossam Darra, Chief Operating Officer for SAP in the Middle East, also made two suggestions:

  • Have one single digital transformation strategy for the whole country. This would include unified procurement, unified HR and employment systems, and unified finance systems. This would give much better control of government funds and help to reduce "leaks" of money from the state.
  • Ease legal regulations to allow international companies to operate. He says that when international competition is encouraged, the citizens of the country benefit as local businesses improve their performance in order to compete, raising standards in the country generally.

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