By John Lee.

Diala State Company, which is part of Iraq’s Ministry of Industry and Minerals, has announced opportunities to invest in a steam iron factory and a ceiling fan factory.

(Source: National Investment Commission)

By John Lee.

Ur State Company, which is part of Iraq’s Ministry of Industry and Minerals, has announced an opportunity to invest in the rehabilitation of an aluminium factory.

(Source: National Investment Commission)

By John Lee.

The 12th Economic Forum of the Iraqi-French Council of Businessmen [Iraqi-French Business Council] was held recently in Baghdad.

Dr. Sami Al Araji, Chairman of the National Investment Commission (NIC) opened the forum with a welcoming speech to the attendees including the Iraqi Minister of Trade, French State Minister for the Foreign Trade Affaires, the Iraqi Governor of the Central Bank and a number of governors, Vice Ministers, Consultants, Director Generals, Heads of Provinces’ Councils, Chairmen of Commercial Chambers and Unions, company owners and businessmen.

Mr. Jack Batist Lomowan, French State Minister for the Foreign Trade Affaires concentrated in his speech on the deep relation between the two countries and the serious wish of both governments to enhance this relation in various fields disregarding the big challenges Iraq is facing now.

He considered this meeting as a step towards the next donors’ conference in Kuwait. He also mentioned the most important French companies which are interested in working in Iraq in addition to the new ones that are eager to start business here. Oil & Gas, energy, water, and infrastructure are main sectors in Iraq in addition to agro industries and medication plus having the French TALS Co. for fund Insurance and protection for the French companies working in Iraq as France has landed Iraq $450-billion aiming at supporting the Iraqi-French relations specially after the Iraqi Prime Minister visit to Paris last October.

He ended his speech by referring to the importance of mutual trust bursting from real political desire of the two leaders to move ahead with the two countries relation and find mutual responsibility and in common interests.

Mr. Raghib R. Blaibil, head of The Iraqi- French Council of Businessmen, considered this forum is a precious opportunity for Iraqi and French businessmen to meet and discuss the fruitful business potential for both sides. He also mentioned the improvement in the economic situation after defeating ISIS in Iraq and the victory our security forces achieved on the ground.

The will be for reconstructing, bringing the displaced back to their homes and the elevated oil price are strong factors encouraging us to invite the French companies to work and invest all over Iraq strongly and freely with no hesitation or fear.

Mr. Blaibil addressed the French airlines companies to start a direct line between Baghdad and Paris after the Iraq opened its airs to the international civil aviation.

The Iraqi-French Council of Businessmen representative Mr. Arnold Brolack inquired about sectors Iraq is willing to invest with the French side and what Iraqi aid is available to achieve tangible results after unifying the two parties’ views.

Mr. Ali Al Alaq, Governor of the Central Bank, long speech emphasized on the successful financial policies of the Central Bank of Iraq during the past years. These policies, in cooperation with the Ministry of Finance, saved Iraq from the sudden oil price drop shock and unstable economic situation.

Dr. Mahir Hamad, Vice Minister of Finance, and Mr. Faisal Al Haimis, Director General of the Trade Bank of Iraq gave their speeches too.

Dr. Sami R. Al Araji ended the first session works with a detailed presentation of strategic opportunities available for investment in Iraq.

The second session started later where bilateral discussions between the Iraqi and the French parties in different economic sectors took place.

French Alstom Transport Co. signed two memoranda of understanding with local governments in Baghdad and Basra provinces to build modern metro with international specifications.

(Source: National Investment Commission)

Parliamentary Finance: Iraq loses $ 263 per second


A member of the parliamentary finance committee, Haitham al-Jubouri, said Wednesday that "Iraq loses 263 dollars per second because of corruption in the country," explaining that "the parties interfere in the work of anti-corruption committees.

"Jubouri said in a statement, "Trend Press," that since the application of the law on customs tariffs in Iraq by 2013 so far was expected to be the state revenues estimated at 8 to 9 billion dollars a year, because the size of what is sold from the window of the currency in the Central Bank Iraq is more than 40 billion dollars,

if we take the lowest percentage of customs and 10% added to the ratio of 3% of the customs duty is the total 13% of this amount will be the value of customs 5.2 billion dollars.

He added that "Iraq is losing 263 dollars per second because of the corruption of customs officials," noting that "the large and rampant corruption is located at the border crossings.

"He pointed out that "we in parliament formed a committee, but because of the interference of political parties in its work has been terminated.

"He explained that "the only step to combat corruption is to strengthen the main regulatory tools, namely the Integrity Commission and the Bureau of Financial Supervision and the security services and reform of the judiciary because there are many problems in the judiciary where some files are transferred to the judiciary, but because of corruption, these files are settled by some corrupt" .

He pointed out that "can not combat corruption by raising slogans and the House of Representatives to leave the courtesies that are at the expense of the Iraqi citizen.

"The House intends to complete the questioning of ministers as former finance minister and former defense minister in the past period, while confirming his quest to complete the questioning of new ministers in the next legislative session.

Transparency International monitors the assets of Iraqi officials and politicians hide their reports

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – An Iraqi deputy confirmed the authenticity of the information contained in an international report on the wealth of Iraq’s political leaders, estimated at $ 700 billion, distributed among different parties and MPs, while the money was monitored in banks in the United States, Britain, Canada and Switzerland.

"The Integrity Commission received a detailed report on the wealth of each of the political forces active in Iraq," a parliamentary source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"These include cash and other immovable property such as real estate and bonds Shares and shares in companies. "

The source added that "there is concern among officials of the possibility of confiscation of this money and internationalization in the process of reconstruction of Iraq," stressing that "the funds can not be disposed of at the moment or withdrawn because of the guardianship of an international movement of Iraq with US support."

"The international report, which was monitored by Transparency International, based in Berlin, sent its information to the Iraqi side, but because of the involvement of senior leaders, including officials in the hierarchy of power, which led to the secrecy of the report and left behind behind the scenes."

It is worth mentioning that the Iraqi Council of Representatives is currently working on the law "where you have this," which is scheduled to be through the disclosure of assets of Iraqi officials at home and abroad. 9%86-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B9%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%82%D9%8A%D9%8A%D 9%86-%D9%88%D8%B3%D9%8A%D8%A7%D8%B3%D9%8A%D9%88%D9%86-%D9%8A%D8%AE%D9%81%D9%88%D9%86-%D8%AA%D9%82%D8%A7%D8%B1%D9%8A%D8%B1%D9%87%D8%A7

DNO ASA, the Norwegian oil and gas operator, today announced a tripling of production from the Peshkabir field in the Tawke license in the Kurdistan region of Iraq to 15,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd) following completion of the Peshkabir-3 well testing, stimulation and cleanup program.

A total of 11 zones in a 1.2 kilometer horizontal section of Cretaceous and Jurassic reservoir in the Peshkabir-3 well were individually tested and flowed successfully, of which ten were oil zones and one a gas zone.

The oil zones tested an average of 5,340 bopd per zone on a 64/64″ choke, with the highest individual test rate of 7,200 bopd. A multi-zone combined production test totaled 12,500 bopd on a 128/64″ choke from five zones.

Production from the previously drilled Peshkabir-2 well, in operation since May, together with that of the new Peshkabir-3 well are currently processed through temporary test package facilities and trucked to DNO’s adjacent Tawke field facilities for export.

As previously announced, the Tawke license partners are proceeding with fast track plans to commission an early production facility by yearend and complete installation of pipeline connections early in 2018 to allow ramp up of output at the Peshkabir field.

Preparations are underway to drill the Peshkabir-4 well which will also be designed to test the underlying Triassic reservoir.

DNO operates and has a 75 percent interest in the Tawke license, with partner Genel Energy plc holding the remainder. The license contains the Tawke and Peshkabir fields whose combined year-to-date production has averaged 110,000 bopd.

(Source: DNO)

By Omar Sattar for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News. 

It’s beginning to look like Iraq won’t make it to the polls on time — again.

Though Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi just announced Dec. 5 that parliamentary and local elections will be held even earlier than scheduled — on May 12 instead of May 15, to avoid a conflict with Ramadan — several events may be coalescing to delay voting.

The legislature is still struggling with disputes over an election bill that must be approved by Dec. 15 if parliament members want to see its contents put into effect in time. At the same time, lawmakers are also busy hashing out a budget bill. The current session is already in overtime; it was supposed to have ended Nov. 30.

The Independent High Electoral Commission says it needs six months to prepare for elections based on any new laws. Otherwise, the current law will remain in effect. The law as it pertains to legislative elections isn’t the main problem, since parliament agreed to abide by the Sainte-Lague method of parliamentary seat allocation. But there are disagreements over local elections (provincial councils), especially regarding the disputed Kirkuk province. Differences raised among the province’s Arab, Turkmen and Kurdish components would be difficult to settle in such a short time.

Rahim al-Daraji, a member of parliament’s Legal Committee and a member of the parliamentary Shiite National Alliance bloc, told Al-Monitor, “The dispute over the elections in Kirkuk is the main obstacle. The province hasn’t witnessed elections since 2005, and several proposals have yet to be settled in the absence of a population census. These proposals include holding elections in the province based on the equation that Kurds, Turkmen and Arabs [each] have 32% of the seats, while the remaining 4% of the seats are allocated to Christians for one round.”

Daraji said the only option he sees now is to extend the legislative term until a new electoral law is approved, and to postpone the elections for weeks or even months.

French company Alstom has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Iraqi government for the development of urban transport in Baghdad and Basra.

The MoU was signed during the Franco-Iraqi government authorities meeting, in the presence of Dr.Sami Al Araji, Head of National Investment Commission (NIC) of Iraq and Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, French Secretary of State.

The MoU covers two major projects. The first project is to implement a 20 km Elevated Train in Baghdad, with the supply of rolling stock, electromechanical systems, tracks, associated civil works. The light rail system would link Al-Mustansirya, AlShab, Al-Wazyria, Alsarafia AlEtafia bridge, Al-Khadumia, AlMuthana airport and Al-Alawi.

The second project focuses on the development of the Metro System in Basra, which consists of two elevated lines of approximately 30km each, 15 stations and one depot for each line from North to South, from Zubair to Shat Alarab and from East to West, from Karma to the Desert.

These projects would significantly contribute to the development of the country’s urban infrastructure and national economy.

“We appreciate the opportunity to develop industrial cooperation with the Republic of Iraq, in order to better address the country’s needs for urban transportation. Alstom is ready to bring its innovative technologies and sees the signature of this MoU as a first step towards the development of a long-term partnership with Iraq”, said Bernard Peille, Managing Director of Alstom in Western & Central Asia.

Alstom is already well established in the Middle East & Africa Region with more than 3,800 employees, 1,800 suppliers and present in more than 15 countries in the region with offices and joint-ventures in Algeria, Morocco, South Africa and Kazakhstan.

(Source: Alstom)

Russia’s Gazprom Neft has launched the commercial operation of a 1.6 billion cubic metres capacity gas processing plant at its Badra field, Iraq.

Alexander Novak, Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation, was present at the opening ceremony for the new facility, together with the Minister of Oil of the Republic of Iraq, Jabbar al-Luaibi, and Gazprom Neft CEO Alexander Dyukov.

Dry feed gas, processed at the Badra field, is transported via a 100-kilometre pipeline to the Az-Zubaidiya power station, supplying electric power not just to provinces throughout Iraq, but also to the capital city of Bagdad.

In addition to this, gas will be used to meet the Badra project’s own needs as fuel for the gas-turbine power plant. Five gas turbines are able to produce a total 123.5 MW of electric power, supplying oil and gas processing facilities, drilling rigs and oil-producing wells. A 10-MW overhead power line will soon begin feeding into the Gazprom Neft Badra accommodation complex, as well as into the town of Badra and neighbouring population centres.

Natural gas liquids (NGLs) produced at the Badra project’s gas processing plant will be used to produce LPG to be supplied to the Iraqi state-owned Gas Filling Company. The plant also includes facilities for sulphur production and granulation.

Alexander Dyukov, Gazprom Neft CEO, made the following comment at the official opening ceremony of the gas plant:

Gazprom Neft is continuing its development of the Badra field, in strict adherence to the field development plan. Today sees the full-cycle gas plant — built by our company using the most cutting-edge technologies available on the world market — going into commercial production.

“This is a unique enterprise for the region, at which Gazprom Neft has, since starting work, been able to monetize all of the hydrocarbons produced here, ensuring associated-petroleum-gas (APG) utilisation of at least 95 percent.

(Source: Gazprom Neft)

Yasiri to «morning»: We issued decisions to prevent the travel of a number of senior officials

Our success in the face of corruption depends on the enactment of new laws

BAGHDAD – Abbas Aboud – Shaimaa Rashid
revealed the head of the Integrity Commission, Hassan al-Yasiri, the Authority was able to stop the waste and recovery of nearly 2 trillion Iraqi dinars during the current year in its work in the fight against corruption, calling on the House of Representatives to expand the work of the Commission and the parents through the legislation of laws that He also called on citizens to contribute to the fight against corruption and cooperate in delivering the right information.

He pointed out that the citizen may encourage the employee to corruption by offering him a bribe. He commended the actions of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in combating this serious scourge.

* With the celebration of the Week of Integrity, and in response to skeptics of its work, what are the achievements of the Commission in the past period?

In the beginning of his speech with Al-Sabah, Al-Yasiri started the Integrity Week, during which the Authority is keen to spread the values ​​of integrity and education among the community.

Integrity must be a behavior and a method. We need to spread this culture through the annual integrity week.
Al-Yasiri said that the Commission has raised the slogan of combating corruption and has taken steps to increase its work and change the approach it used previously. Instead of receiving funds to receive complaints, they formed field and mobile teams.

The field teams received praise at the Arab and international levels, Including the Ministries of Industry, Transport, Education, Agriculture, Health, Justice, the Real Estate Bank and perhaps some other ministries, where their investigations resulted in the referral of ministers, deputy ministers and leaders to the judiciary as a result of the work of these teams.

The head of the Integrity Commission, the mobile teams include investigators and auditors go to the state departments and open files regardless of the existence of complaints against them or not, while the formation of teams mobile inspection secret visits to the institutions and ministries that have contact with the citizen and suffer from cases of extortion such as passports and tax Border crossings and others.

* The media reports of the imminent overthrow of large heads accused of corruption.Will we see confirmation of these reports in the near future?

It is regrettable that many have no knowledge of the work of the Integrity Commission and the laws that determine this work.

The Commission issued decisions prohibiting the travel of a number of senior officials, which is unprecedented, the last of which is the governor of Basra, who was not prevented by the judiciary from traveling.

Deputies and ministers and provincial councils in full, which forced them to review the body and the judiciary to resolve their position .. What many do not know that the work of the Commission is an achievement, but implementation is subject to the judiciary and the executive bodies.

[Asharq Al-Awsat] In some corruption cases, large amounts of money have been robbed, while a few corrupt ones are not commensurate with the size of the offense.

In your opinion, is the defect due to the procedures of the Commission or to the articles of the Penal Code?
In order to deal with this big imbalance, we need a legal system competent to combat corruption that is deterrent and strict.

The Parliament has demanded legislation to combat corruption, but we have not yet found a response.

The Commission has had to propose several laws that facilitate its work, On the information and the protection of witnesses and informants and the amendment of the Penal Code in force and also proposed to tighten all penalties associated with corruption and waste of public money .. Of course some of the deputies responded to the proposals of the Commission, but this response remained little and did not materialize on the ground, Its only need political will to make them come out legal as a system.

Is corruption a crime of honor?
Yes, corruption is at the top of crimes against honor, and in truth we were surprised by the enactment of the amnesty law to include the corrupt.

I have been very much aware of the media that did not shed light on the negative aspects of this law and the citizen is aware of the negative effects of its application. The regulators are frustrated and will give criminals the opportunity to escape their crimes.

* The subject of "international experts" was linked after the announcement of Prime Minister Haider Abadi war on corruption, and lists of names of some personalities appeared on social media claiming that the owners are corrupt and will be investigated .. What is the truth?
C) In such difficult and dangerous subjects, citizens should be careful to convey information because we do not want more confusion and misinformation.

Information that is important and dangerous should be sent to the concerned bodies, and not talk on the street or Facebook, And I think that some of these publications are intended to embarrass the government and weaken the citizen’s confidence in the state and its regulatory bodies.
On the subject of international experts, I doubt that Iyad is behind the political agendas aimed at political dichotomy and mixing papers on this aspect.

The subject of international experts, in short, is that Iraq requested United Nations Anti-Corruption Assistance to provide the government and the Integrity Commission with some experts for advice and advice.

We met with representatives of the United Nations. We reached a preliminary agreement to provide advice and assistance in money recovery and extradition files.

From our request to the experts .. As for what is being circulated in the street of rumors and rumors that international experts are conducting the investigations is not true at all, Iraqi laws do not give them any validity.

[Asharq Al-Awsat] To what extent did the Authority succeed in recovering Iraq’s smuggled funds abroad?
C / in the file of the recovery of money smuggled, it is a file, while some of it related to the money of the former regime and the memorandum of oil for food and medicine, the body was able to complete hundreds of files in this regard in coordination with the prosecution and the Ministry of Justice and Foreign Affairs in this regard ..

The files are ready and some arrived Interpol International, which issued a red bulletin distributed to the countries of the world for the confiscation and return of funds to Iraq.

The problem in this file is political because there are countries that do not cooperate with us, which requires the assistance of the government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to fulfill their responsibility in approaching these countries.

As a result of our work and our investigations, the former Minister Abd al-Falah al-Sudani was arrested in Beirut according to the file of the Commission and the red bulletin issued by Interpol.

The Commission also succeeded in preparing the file of the former secretary-general of the Ministry of Defense Ziad al-Qattan. He was arrested in Jordan, For the purpose of his extradition to Iraq and trial.

* Do you have an approximate amount of money being recovered or in the process of recovery?

As a result of the cooperation of some countries with us, Iraq was able to recover more than 2 million dollars from the deal sonar equipment, which was the main supplier British nationality.

[Asharq Al-Awsat] Did the Commission issue warrants for the extradition?
C / There are accused of the Iraqi judiciary in 15 countries, notably America, Britain, Lebanon, Jordan, Poland and others .. Such notes object to the implementation of political problems and not technical .. Iran and Turkey, we do not have with them such problems.

* The region is a closed file can not access the body, despite being part of Iraq, what are your future actions and the most prominent files that did not respond to them?

The law of the Commission includes Iraq as a whole except for the region. A law has been issued in the region to establish an Integrity Commission, but this body has not filed a file against anyone.

However, despite the legal registration, the TRA is proud that two years ago Masoud Barzani, Najirvan Barzani and Jalal Talabani demanded disclosure of their financial liabilities.

The answer came from the region that we are a federal body that has no jurisdiction over the region.

The Commission insisted on its position on the grounds that Jalal Talabani, President of the Republic of Iraq, regardless of being a Kurd and is obliged to disclose his financial debt, while the President of the region and Prime Minister positions are sovereign and take their salaries and privileges from the public budget and must disclose their financial debt also.

[Asharq Al-Awsat] What are the reasons for the closure of the offices of the inspectors?

These are strange calls, because they come at a time when the voices are rising to combat corruption.

The country is suffering from corruption and all the regulatory bodies must cooperate, not at least at this stage.

There are thousands of cases in which the offices of the public inspectors have been investigated. Through which the waste of public money .. Instead of these calls, we call on the House of Representatives to expand the work of the Commission and the parents and inspectors general.

* All blocs and parties raise the slogan of fighting corruption, how much is the proportion of sincerity in these slogans?

We are talking about our competence and we do not want to enter into political disputes. We are very interested and we wish anyone who raises the slogan of fighting corruption to translate it in the form of a legal and practical system, because we do not want words in the air. We want laws that help combat this scourge.

* Everyone is waiting for a war on the corrupt, what is the role of the citizen in helping the body?

C / citizen cornerstone in the fight against corruption, especially in the delivery of the right information, and integrity and support the work of the Commission .. Sometimes it is the citizen is the cause of corruption by exposing a bribe to an employee to exceed the law or get what is not worthy of it is a contributor and partner in Corruption, and therefore we call on the government to set strict standards in the selection of employees in its institutions to prove their competence and security.

[Asharq Al-Awsat] What are the reasons that led you to resign?
I have not been subject to political pressure not to resign or to abandon it, I submitted a single resignation only and rejected Prime Minister Haider Abadi because he wants to eliminate corruption, and I saw it is my duty to support and stand for this task ..

The second resignation, Health never happens.
* Is the staff of the body efficient or needs more training?
C / The Commission has 250 investigators out of the 2,700 employees on its staff, and these investigators are under surveillance to assess their performance and account in case of default, knowing that the Commission considers the limits of 15 thousand cases annually.

The Commission does not have allocations except salaries, so its plans collide with the financial obstacle. Training the Commission’s investigators outside of Iraq on the modern investigative method, for example, needs funds, so we resorted to agreement with foreign countries to train the investigators free of charge and some agreements were signed with Singapore, Malaysia, France and South Korea.

From sending them next year for training in modern investigative techniques and raising their efficiency.
[Asharq Al-Awsat] What about the phantom projects that the Commission investigates?

C / integrity check in a number of these files and the Commission to refer all cases to the judiciary after completion, as it is keen not to delay any file .. I have investigated in major cases despite the lack of a large number of investigators and auditors.

[Asharq Al-Awsat] Are officials of dual nationality problems of integrity?
This is why we have presented a proposal on behalf of Iraq in which we demanded that dual nationality should not be a hindrance to the recovery of the accused and the funds.

Especially the United States, but the resolution passed and we hope that the countries will cooperate with Iraq in this regard.

What is the response of officials to disclose their financial liabilities?
C / Our presidency and the ministers responded well, as 20 ministers submitted a disclosure of financial wealth out of 22, while the House of Representatives is the real obstacle in the disclosure of financial receivables

.. The problem facing us that the judiciary does not issue a judgment on those who do not disclose the financial burden On the grounds that there is no explicit legal provision that makes disclosure of receivables a crime but is a disciplinary offense.