INA – BAGHDAD
The investment sector in Iraq was exposed to obstacles and problems that negatively reflected on the service reality of the Iraqi citizen with a high rate of unemployment, but the recent government moves have renewed hope for the development of investment after taking several measures.
This included granting facilities to investors, eliminating corruption and regulations in completing transactions, in addition to providing a safe environment with the aim of providing large projects that provide services and job opportunities for Iraqis.
Observers and specialists confirmed that investment in Iraq so far does not meet the required level and there are a number of measures that must be taken to put this regard on the right track.
Practical measures to support investment
"The commission has been continuing for a year of ongoing work with successes despite the challenges it faces," said the Head of Investment Commission, Suha Al-Najjar, to the Iraqi News Agency (INA).
She noted that "the most prominent thing that the commission has done in the field of investment in the service of citizens is the Rafeel city project, which is considered a supportive administrative capital for Baghdad,”
“This comes with an accompanying tangible economic and social reflection on the Iraqi economy for its active and expected participation in solving part of the problem of increasing population expansion and the accompanying urgent need for housing with its contribution to absorb a percentage of unemployment by providing large job opportunities up to 100 thousand opportunities," she added.
Al-Najjar pointed out that, "under the guidance of Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, the first down payment from Bismayah City project was reduced from 25% to 10% of the value of the housing unit in a supportive step for this housing project and a 50% reduction of the interest rate to be 2% instead of 4% and in proportion to the standard of living of a large segment of citizens, in direct coordination with Iraqi government banks.
Regarding the control of corruption in the investment file, Al-Najjar confirmed, “The doors of corruption have been controlled in tax exemptions by which building and other materials are entered into the country without paying customs duties, as it is exempt from that”
“This represents a blow to the Iraqi economy and a boost to unemployment, by the formation of a department in the Commission that employs the best talents and specialists to monitor those exemptions and imported materials,” she included, wondering, “How can local products compete with foreign products that entered while they are exempt from customs?”
She went on noting, "The doors of corruption have also been controlled in granting entry visas that are granted to investors to bring in foreign workers and enter company staff and the corruption that occurs in it, as some non-serious investors work to bring in hundreds of foreign workers and the visas are sold to them or they receive fees from the coming people to work in Iraq. The commission has checked all the features included and excluded any suspicious features,”
Al-Najjar explained saying, "The investment licenses that recorded a completion rate ranging between zero - 35% have been withdrawn and canceled. The time period available for project implementation has expired," noting that "the authority continues its procedures related to withdrawing investment licenses for lagging projects after studying them by specialized committees to determine the circumstances of each project and the reasons for the delay in coordination between the National Investment Commission and the investment authorities in the governorates,”
"There is great cooperation to identify those uncompleted and lagging projects to support the reality of investment in the governorates,” she concluded.
Direction to expand the area of investment regionally and globally
For her part, the director of the Commission's media, Hanan Jassim, told the Iraqi News Agency (INA), that "the current year 2022 will witness qualitative and real leaps in the investment file,"
"The Commission is interested in developing and expanding investment in a number of files, most notably the alternative solar energy for electric energy due to the increasing need. Iraq has this energy, as well as in the field of housing complexes, and other areas," She explained.
Jassim continued, "Our next plan includes directing Arab and local investment, as well as foreign investment,"
Large areas for investment
A spokesman for the Ministry of Agriculture, Hamid Al-Nayef, tells the Iraqi News Agency (INA), that "with regard to investment in Iraq, especially in the field of cultivated areas, especially in Muthanna Governorate, is estimated at up to one million acres, as it was also offered for investment and placed under the supervision of The National Investment Commission, which is responsible for contracting and working,"
“Local investors do not invest in Iraq because of the laws," he highlighted.
Al-Nayef stressed, "the need for a special agricultural law for investment, with the provision of facilities,"