By Ahmed Mousa Jiyad.

Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Transparency in Iraq petroleum sector – More symbolic formality than impacting effectiveness

The petroleum sector is the only sector of the Iraqi economy that has been subject to a formal, articulated, transparency regime for almost a decade, as result of the new emerging international entity, the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI).

As totally new concept in Iraqi governance mindset, transparency was introduced post 2003 invasion and Iraq went through distinct phases in its association with EITI from application in 2009 as candidate to a compliant country by end 2012 to suspension in late 2017, and since then Iraq works hard to re-instate its compliancy status.

This article discusses and assesses Iraq experience with transparency and the path it followed in its implementation of this new concept for prudent management of its finite natural resources of petroleum. Specifically, what prompted or compelled Iraq to adopt EITI norms; what measures it had taken to gain the compliant status; why that status was suspended; what has Iraq to do if it wants to regain that status and, above all, what are the outcomes and how sustainable are they.

Though Iraq EITI (IEITI) experience is characterized as bureaucratic formality and symbolic, the article would argue that good, comprehensive and regular reporting on transparency enhances transparency and contributes to good governance in the petroleum sector. Hence, the article argues further, that what is needed is how to transform IEITI into real, effective and impacting change agency.

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Mr Jiyad is an independent development consultant, scholar and Associate with the former Centre for Global Energy Studies (CGES), London. He was formerly a senior economist with the Iraq National Oil Company and Iraq’s Ministry of Oil, Chief Expert for the Council of Ministers, Director at the Ministry of Trade, and International Specialist with UN organizations in Uganda, Sudan and Jordan. He is now based in Norway (Email: mou-jiya(at)online.no, Skype ID: Ahmed Mousa Jiyad). Read more of Mr Jiyad’s biography here.