By John Lee.

The Cabinet held its regular meeting in Baghdad on Tuesday under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi.

At the start of the meeting, the Prime Minister extended his condolences and paid tribute to Dr. Hisham Al-Hashimi who was assassinated by a group of armed outlaws.

The Prime Minister said that the perpetrators of this crime will be pursued and brought to justice, as will those who have spilled the blood of other Iraqis.

The Prime Minister made it clear that he will not allow Iraq to be held to ransom by gangs, and that the government is determined to reassert the authority of the state and the rule of law.

The Prime Minister said that this government came into office in very challenging circumstances, and it will take the necessary action to fulfill the aspirations of Iraqis.

The Cabinet then received a briefing from the Minister of Health on the latest developments in relation to Covid-19, and the ongoing efforts to combat the pandemic.

Following discussions, the Cabinet decided to:

  • Approve a draft law on the pension rights of medical and health professionals who died as a result of their work caring for Covid-19 patients, and to submit it for parliamentary approval
  • Approve the recommendations of the Ministerial Council on Human Development on secondary education, including the creation of a new arts track in secondary education, in addition to the current science and humanities tracks
  • Commission the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs to prepare an urgent study on the actual numbers of those entitled to social security benefits, the cost of their inclusion in the system, and the measures taken by the Ministry to address any abuse of the social security network
  • Authorise the Minister of Finance to sign a memorandum of understanding between the Ministry of Finance and the German Development Bank regarding a grant in the amount of 15,000,000 euros to equip five temporary hospitals for Covid-19 patients in various locations
  • Renew the licenses of mobile phone companies for five years, on conditions they pay 50% of their outstanding debt, and commit to introducing 4G commercial services by early 2021

The Cabinet also discussed other policies and draft laws and issued several directives.

(Source: Govt of Iraq)

New Report and Webtool Provide Insight into Iraq’s Looming Water Crisis: IOM and Deltares

Iraq faces a complex water crisis that is expected to persist and might have implications at the humanitarian, socioeconomic, security and social levels, including population movements. In July 2019, the International Organization of Migration (IOM) in Iraq identified 21,314 internally displaced persons (IDPs) from the central and southern governorates who were displaced due to the lack of water associated with high salinity content or waterborne disease outbreaks.

Intake from the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers – Iraq’s primary sources of water – is decreasing at an unprecedented rate. Concurrently, climate change is leading to increasing average temperatures and decreasing annual rainfall, causing further challenges throughout the region. The risk of water shortage-induced displacement of populations in Iraq remains high due to degradation of the quantity and quality of available water.

IOM Iraq and Deltares, an independent institute for applied research in the field of water and subsurface, have published a new report – Water Quantity and Water Quality in Central and South Iraq: A Preliminary Assessment in the Context of Displacement Risk – focused on understanding variations in water quantity and water quality in central and southern governorates over the last two decades.

“Water scarcity is one of the main threats to agricultural communities. Environmental factors are among the drivers of displacement and have witnessed this in governorates like Thi-Qar, Basra, Najaf and Kerbala,” said IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Gerard Waite. “The evidence presented in this report can inform future actions to mitigate a looming water crisis, that would leave vulnerable communities more at risk.”

The report provides insight for the coming years, and key recommendations to mitigate the water crisis, based on an exploratory model-based analysis.

“As a member of the Water, Peace and Security Partnership, Deltares aims to improve the availability of water data and information to help prevent water crises,” said Karen Meijer, Senior Researcher at Deltares. “Working with IOM has given us the opportunity to tailor our analysis to information needs for preventing and responding to water-related displacement and improve decision support in this area.”

IOM Iraq and Deltares have also launched the Iraq Water Risk Webtool, an interactive webtool that provides insight into variations in water quantity and water quality over time in the central and southern governorates in Iraq. Using data from past years, it explores the impact of different scenarios of water management, climate change, and effectiveness of measures to mitigate these changes. The tool presents Baseline, Water Management, and Climate Change scenarios, each showcasing two series of interactive maps on past and future water availability and water quality.

This study was carried out as part of IOM’s efforts to better understand forced migration as a result of environmental factors, and craft more effective responses. In Iraq, this project is a first step towards better preparedness and response measures – designed by and for vulnerable populations that may be faced with the difficult prospect of climate migration.

The study was funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration. Deltares’ work under the Water, Peace and Security partnership was funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

For more information please contact IOM Iraq’s Public Information Unit, Tel: +964 751 402 2811, Email: iraqpublicinfo@iom.int

(Source: UN)

(Picture credit: Aziz1005)

Advertising Feature

Rabee Securities Iraq Stock Exchange (ISX) market report (week ending: 9th July 2020).

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

The RSISX index ended the week at IQD576 (-1.2%) / $602 (-0.4%) (weekly change) (-12.6% and -14.1% YTD change, respectively). The number of week traded shares was 3.7 bn and the weekly trading volume was IQD2.1 bn ($1.7 mn).

ISX Company Announcements

  • The CBI signed, on Tuesday, a memorandum of cooperation with the Iraqi Securities Commission (ISC). The memorandum included the possibility of exchanging the information available at the Central Bank and the Securities Commission, in addition to coordination in the field of legislation and regulatory and regulatory standards for bodies subject to the control of both parties. (CBI)
  • ISX will suspend trading of Trans Iraq Bank for Investment (BTRI) starting Jul. 20, 2020 due to the AGM that will be held on Jul. 26, 2020 to discuss and approve 2019 annual financial statements.
  • ISX will suspend trading of Iraqi for Tufted Carpets (IITC) starting Jul. 16, 2020 due to the AGM that will be held on Jul. 22, 2020.
  • ISX will suspend trading of Baghdad Soft Drinks (IBSD) starting Jul. 14, 2020 due to the AGM that will be held on Jul. 21, 2020 to discuss and approve 2019 annual financial statements, discuss suggesting dividend distribution and to elect 9 original and 9 alternative board members.
  • ISX suspended trading of Asiacell (TASC) on Jul. 6, 2020 due to the AGM that will be held on Jul. 12, 2020 to discuss and approve 2019 annual financial statements.
  • ISX will continue the suspension of trading of the following companies due to not disclosing their annual and quarterly financial statements: BUOI, BNOR, IMCM, IMPI, AMAP, IICM, IHLI, ITLI, IIEW, IELI, HISH, VKHF, VBAT and SBAG.
  • Due to the increased number of Covid-19 cases in Baghdad and to commit to the safety measurements, Al-Mansour Bank (BMNS) didn’t hold its intended AGM on Jul. 8, 2020 and hence, wasn’t suspended from trading on Jul. 6, 2020. The bank proposed to the companies’ registrar to hold the AGM on Jul. 15, 2020 and is still waiting for the approval.
  • The ISX invited listed companies for participating in Zoom conference calls for the purpose of communicating with the shareholders and attracting investors. During the conference calls, the listed companies will disclose recent financial results and 2020 plans. Zoom conference calls with the ISX listed companies will continue to be held until the end of Sep. 2020. The speakers of the first two Zoom conference calls will be Bank of Baghdad (Jul. 10th), and National Bank of Iraq (Jul. 11th), respectively.
  • Cross transaction: 2.0 bn shares of Trust International Islamic Bank (BTRU) on Jul. 8, 2020, which represents 0.8% of BTRU’s capital.

By Michael Knights, for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Any opinions expressed are those of the author(s), and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

On July 6, 2020, Iraq’s most prolific security commentator Husham al-Hashemi was assassinated in Zayouna, a social melting pot neighborhood of east Baghdad.

At 8:19 pm, he arrived outside his home, driving his own unarmored white SUV. Seconds before, two motorbikes pulled up, each carrying two young men.

They knew that he was coming and they knew where he would park his car.

Click here to read the full article.

Criminal justice services in Iraq strengthened thanks to new contribution from Germany

The Government of Germany has committed USD 1.13 million to support the Government of Iraq strengthen its criminal investigations and crime scene management under a new project in partnership with UNDP Iraq.

Strengthening Criminal Investigations and Crime Scene Management Capacities in Iraq aims to increase the reliability and effectiveness of criminal investigations, ensuring they are well integrated and proactively conducted by local police. It will also improve the performance of cinvestigators, making their role in criminal investigations more accountable.

Activities under this project include comprehensive training sessions for investigating officers from local police stations, relevant directorates, and investigating judges.

Resident Representative of UNDP Iraq, Zena Ali Ahmad, said:

This generous contribution will support Iraqi stakeholders to advance ongoing efforts to improve local safety and security through better crime management and local policing.

“Public safety and security lie at the heart of Iraq’s transition to long-term stability, recovery and development, so we are extremely grateful to the Government of Germany for its continued support.

German Ambassador, Dr. Ole Diehl (pictured) stressed that:

“This contribution from Germany will assist in advancing capacities of police forces and judicial authorities in Iraq and thereby create conditions to restore public safety and security for all Iraqis as well as enhance longer-term stability.”

Major General Talib Khalil Rahi, Forensics Director of the Ministry of Interior, stated:

“The focus on improving local police and criminal justice services is essential to transit from a state engaged in protracted conflict to a post-war era of stability and recovery.”

The new contribution aligns with identified priorities within the Government of Iraq’s Security Sector Reform aimed at improving criminal justice and local policing.

The project will be implemented by the UNDP Security Sector Reform and Rule of Law Programme which has been instrumental in supporting the Government of Iraq’s Security Sector Reform Programme, in partnerships with the Office of the National Security Advisor, Ministry of Interior and the Police Affairs Agency, Local Police, Higher Judicial Council, Ministry of Justice and Iraqi civil society organisations and other international donors.

(Source: UNDP)

By John Lee.

The director of the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) has presented his company’s plans for the development of the Bazergan [Buzurgan] oil field in Maysan to Iraq’s Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul-Jabbar.

In a separate meeting on Wednesday, the Minister also received the CEO of Lukoil in Iraq, Igor Zubarev, who gave a summary of the company’s activities and plans in Iraq.

(Source: Ministry of Oil)