Continued Winter Assistance Needed for Displaced and Vulnerable Iraqis: IOM

As winter temperatures set in, accompanied by winds and rain, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Iraq has completed the three-month distribution of 25,000 winter non-food item kits. Consisting of heaters, blankets and jerry cans, the kits meet the most urgent needs of 150,000 vulnerable individuals across the country.

IOM’s winterization assistance reached 13,000 displaced households in camps, thousands of displaced families in informal settlements, and thousands of others who have returned to their home communities.

“Although displaced households are continuing to return to their home communities, those remaining in camps or informal settlements are often the most vulnerable and have little to protect themselves against the cold winter conditions,” said Gerard Waite, IOM Iraq Chief of Mission.

In partnership with local governmental authorities, IOM prioritized distributions in hard-to-reach or insecure areas where other humanitarian partners are not present, such as in communities bordering Syria and in Qayrawan and Hatra, in Ninewa governorate.

Of the 1.8 million persons who remain displaced as a result of the conflict with ISIL, over 500,000 are in camps and 140,000 live in critical shelter arrangements (informal settlements, schools or religious or abandoned buildings). More than four million people previously displaced have returned to their homes since mid-2015, but many continue to live in precarious conditions.

As people return home, many have found their personal belongings stolen and their houses damaged. With massive destruction in areas of return and limited economic opportunities, returnee households are exposed to the harsh effects of winter and are unable to afford items to cope with the cold.

The provision of humanitarian assistance in areas of return is therefore critical to support the reintegration of returning displaced families and other vulnerable households in conflict-affected communities.

“After being displaced for a year and a half in the city of Kirkuk, we returned to our village, which was destroyed by ISIL. Everything was damaged, including our house and shop, which was our only source of income. We had to start our life from scratch, while our deteriorating financial condition and cold weather forced us to use firewood as a heating source during the chilly winter nights. We are very happy to receive these items, now we will have a heater to stay warm,” said Nora, a mother of four children, at a distribution in Al Abassi district, Kirkuk governorate.

“Despite the success of this winter response operation, we are extremely concerned for the many Iraqis who remain in displacement who will have to endure another harsh winter in camps and in sub-standard shelters,” said Alberto Preato, Head of IOM Iraq’s Preparedness and Response Unit.

“This year we are piloting innovative approaches to housing reconstruction and cash-based humanitarian assistance to enable displaced families return to their home communities,” he continued.

IOM’s winter non-food item kits are funded by the Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) and the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO).

As more displaced families attempt to return home, IOM remains committed to supporting the Government of Iraq to seek durable solutions for vulnerable displaced persons and address needs of conflict-affected communities throughout the country.

Click here to watch a video of an IOM staff member speaking about winter support for displaced Iraqis and returnees.

(Source: UN)

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

For about 10 years, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), which controls Erbil and Dahuk provinces in Iraq, has enjoyed close working relations with the Turkish government on trade, energy and security. The main architect of this opening has been the KDP’s Nechirvan Barzani.

The KDP, unlike other Iraqi Kurdish groups, has also acted as a counterweight since the 1990s to the formidable Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) guerrilla movement — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s archenemy — by allowing Turkey to establish a number of military bases to monitor PKK activities.

However, Barzani, prime minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) since 2012, was not nominated by the KDP to form the next KRG Cabinet. This is causing Erdogan to worry about the fate of a 50-year secretive energy deal made with Barzani in 2014.

Click here to read the full story.

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Rabee Securities Iraq Stock Exchange (ISX) market report (week ending: 17th January 2019).

Please click here to download a table of listed companies and their associated ticker codes.

The RSISX index ended the week at IQD642 (-4.4%) / $691 (-4.4%) (weekly change) (-2.5% and -2.7% YTD change, respectively). The number of week traded shares was 28.1 bn and the weekly trading volume was IQD10.2 bn ($8.4 mn).

ISX Company Announcements

  • According to the ISX announcement, the opening price of the IQD5.0 mn class bonds (CB125) will be IQD5,322,192 on Sunday (Jan. 20, 2019). [Table: 2.3]
  • As part of the contribution to support the Iraqi economy, the Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) announced that through its IQD1.0 trln initiative given as a maximum amount for SME projects, it gave more than IQD33 bn during 2018. Since the start of the project in May 2015 until the end of 2018, IQD73 bn were given to projects, where the trade sector got 59%, services 25%, industrial 12% and agricultural sector 4%. The initiative includes 34 banks, 33 private banks and one state bank, while the loans for these projects ranged from IQD5 mn to IQD50 mn, it could reach IQD100 mn if it is approved by the Central Bank. (CBI)
  • Commercial Bank of Iraq (BCOI) resumed trading on Jan. 17, 2019 after discussing and approving 2017 annual financial results and deciding to distribute 3.5% cash dividend (7.3% dividend yield).
  • Ashur International Bank for Investment (BASH) resumed trading on Jan. 17, 2019 due to disclosing its 9M18 financials.
  • Bain Al-Nahrain Investment (VMES) resumed trading on Jan. 17, 2019 after discussing and approving 2017 annual financial results.
  • New shares of Al-Hamraa for Insurance (NHAM) from the capital increase from IQD5 bn to IQD7 bn through 40% bonus issue resumed trading on Jan. 16, 2019.
  • ISX requested Al Taif Islamic Bank to submit the required documents in order to start trading on the ISX as an Islamic bank.
  • Modern Animal & Agricultural Production (AMAP) was not suspended from trading on Jan. 14, 2019 because the company fulfilled ISX request to explain why the prices touched the higher limits on Jan. 8, Jan. 9, Jan. 10 and Jan. 13, 2019. The company disclosed that they started the legal procedures to own Soft Dairy Factory (Alban Al-Rfq) and the company also added that it started maintenance and adding new equipments in Halal Dairy Factory (Al-Halal) which will lead to increase production and quality of production.
  • Cross Transactions: 24.7 bn shares of Trust International Islamic Bank (BTRU) on Jan. 14, 2019, which represents 9.9% of BTRU capital.
The House of Representatives postpones the consideration of two different laws and ends its session
The Iraqi Council of Representatives on Saturday read three laws, two of them there is a sharp dispute between them and did not legislate since previous sessions.

The Council had held earlier in the day its regular session for the first legislative year in the first legislative term of the fourth session, headed by Mohammed Halbusi and the presence of deputies from various parliamentary blocs.

A parliamentary source told Ashqaf News that, at the request of the Legal Committee, it was decided to postpone the first reading of the draft law amending the fines law contained in Penal Code No. (111) for the year 1969 and other special laws No. (6) of 2008.

The source added that it was also decided to postpone the first reading of the draft law of the Federal Supreme Court, and the first reading of the draft federal civil service law at the request of the Commission itself.

According to the source, the Council decided after the adjournment of the meeting until next Tuesday at one o’clock.

It is noteworthy that the last two laws are disputed by the parties and political parties and was unable to pass the Iraqi parliament in the previous three legislative sessions to pass them.

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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met a group of Iraqi tribal leaders from south of the country in the holy city of Karbala.

During the last leg of his meetings with Iraqi officials, elites and representatives of Iraqi society from various ethnicities and regions, Zarif sat for talks with the tribal leaders and clans’ representatives of southern Iraq in the consulate of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the holy city of Karbala.

During the cordial meeting on Wednesday, some of Iraqi tribal leaders and representatives expressed their views and ideas about the strong bonds between the two nations of Iran and Iraq, Foreign Ministry website reported.

For his part, Iran’s top diplomat referred to the close relations between the two nations over the past centuries and pointed out that nothing, even the imposed war by the former dictator of Iraq on Iran, could not separate the two nations.

“The love of the third Shiite Imam, Hussein ibn Ali (AS) has served as a bond connecting us together,” he said, adding that Arbaeen, the anniversary of 40th day after the martyrdom of Imam Hussein (AS) is a beautiful picture of companionship, self-sacrifice, hospitality and sympathy between the peoples of Iran and Iraq.

He also thanked Iraqi tribes for their warm hospitality to the Iranian pilgrims flocking to the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala each year to commemorate Arbaeen.

Zarif then underlined that Iran and Iraq are now involved in the construction process and added the two sides should put their focus on improving the living conditions of their people through overcoming the current obstacles and preparing the ground for further economic cooperation.

“Building on the two sides’ capacities, we can increase our annual trade volume by 20 billion dollars and if the ground is prepared, the Islamic Republic is ready to proudly share its achievements in energy, engineering, agriculture and trade areas with the Iraqis,” he concluded.

Iranian foreign minister arrived in Iraq on Sunday afternoon and held separate meetings with various Iraqis officials from the central government in Baghdad to Kurdistan semi-autonomous region.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

Iraqi parliament enters the Guinness Book of "failure" .. 135 days "without legislation" no law!

Any political or non-political race in the achievement of an achievement, calculated within the period of assuming any responsibility .. The Iraqi parliament racing with the failed governments to break the record of failure in political performance and entry into the Guinness Book of Guinness, if we argued that there is a standard in this encyclopedia Measured by government failure.

The parliament is still standing in front of the legislation of the laws under its dome, 135 days after the formation of the current parliament, and the passage of four months to perform his deputies to the constitutional right, as he did not pass any law, throughout this period, knowing that early this month was due to end of life Constitutional provisions of the first legislative term.

The official website of the Iraqi Council of Representatives shows that the parliament held 26 meetings during the past four months, while the legislative laws section is free of any law, while the laws section of the legislation show the existence of 6 projects, the most prominent of which is the draft law of the budget of 2019.

Observers believe that the delay in the formation of the Iraqi government, and the continuing disagreement between the parliamentary blocs on ministerial portfolios, led to the delay of Parliament in the adoption of important laws, which relate to the lives of Iraqis, notably the budget.

The House of Representatives holds two meetings each week to discuss the agenda, which is placed by the Presidency of the Parliament, while postponing many of the meetings not to achieve a quorum due to political conflicts, the ministerial posts.