By John Lee.

Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi (pictured) has called for an investigation into the appointment of a deputy director general to the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority (ICAA), citing allegation that the appointment was made under threat.

In a statement the Prime Minister said.

His Excellency Prime Minister Adil Abd Al-Mahdi ordered to conduct an investigation on information indicating the issuance of an administrative order by the Director General of the Civil Aviation Authority to appoint a person in the position of Deputy Director General of the Authority under threat and intimidation, to consider the administrative procedure related to the position of the Deputy of the Chairman of the Authority frozen and inoperable, and the previous contexts shall continue to work until the completion of the investigation and the confirmation.

“His Excellency called for taking the necessary measures and imposing the most severe penalties on anyone who uses the threat or uses his powers to compel citizens or state institutions to carry out actions contrary to law and order.

(Source: Media Office of the Prime Minister)

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

Will Iraq’s prime minister fail to complete his Cabinet?

For the second time in less than two months, Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi has left the Iraqi parliament building without a complete Cabinet. There were hopes that he would complete the Cabinet in the first or second session, but he wasn’t able to see it through.

Three months after President Barham Salih tasked him with forming the government, he still has not been able to convince the political blocs with his remaining candidates for five ministries: justice, education, interior, defense and migration.

Click here to read the full story.

By John Lee.

The Iraqi government has said it intends to extend pension rights and other benefits to public sector employees on short term and daily contracts.

At a cabinet meeting in Baghdad on Tuesday, Prime Minister Adil Abd Al-Mahdi told the Cabinet that the government intends to introduce measures to give public sector employees on short-term and daily contracts the same pension rights and other benefits currently enjoyed by their colleagues on permanent contacts.

(Source: Government of Iraq)

Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi has reportedly named his final eight ministers, completing his cabinet after weeks of delay.

According to information received by Rudaw, the appointments are as follows:Dara Nuradin – Ministry of Justice

  • Falih Fayadh – Ministry of Interior
  • Faysal Jarba – Ministry of Defense
  • Qusay Abdulwahab Suheil – Ministry of Higher Education
  • Saba Khayradin Tani – Ministry of Education
  • Abdulamir Hamdani – Ministry of Culture
  • Nouri Natiq Dlemi – Ministry of Planning
  • Hanna Immanuel Gorgis – Ministry of Immigrants and Immigration
  • Dara Nuradin, who took the justice brief, is an independent Kurdish politician.

(Source: Rudaw)

By John Lee.

Iraq’s National Investment Commission (NIC) has identified five main issues hindering investment in Iraq:

  1. Not applying the One Stop Shop (OSS) law as it should be applied and denying the OSS representatives the required authorities to decision making;
  2. Difficulties in allocating lands and being subject to interpretation and wishes of various bodies;
  3. Problems with lack of funding and the banking system;
  4. Political quotas and interference in the provincial councils; and,
  5. The spread of administrative corruption.

The full statement from the NIC can be read below:

The National Investment Commission holds an elaborated meeting in the presence of the Secretary General of  the Ministers Council 

The National Investment Commission (NIC) held on Tuesday 27/11/2018 an expanded workshop devoted to discussing the investment map of Iraq for 2019 in the presence of the Secretary General of the Council of Ministers Dr. Mahdi Alallaq, the head of the Secretariat of the Coordinating Committee in the Provinces Mr. Turhan Al Mufti and Chairmen of a number of Provincial Investment Commissions in addition to representatives of a number of Ministries and concerned state institutions.

NIC Chairman emphasized in his speech that this workshop comes to complete the first meeting, which included representatives of investment activity in various ministries and departments to discuss the investment map for 2019 in response to the invitation of the Prime Minister Dr. Adel Abdul Mahdi to discuss the reality of investment situation in Iraq and develop effective solutions for issues facing investment projects in all governorates across the country. .

He also determined five main issues that participated in hindering investment in Iraq, three of them are related to investment law. The first, is not applying the One Stop Shop (OSS) law as it should be applied and denying the OSS representatives the required authorities to decision making. The second, is difficulties in allocating lands and being subject to interpretation and wishes of various bodies. Funding and banking systems represent the third issue for not supporting economic projects.

Two other big problems deviated the investment path and its law, Political quotas and interference in the provincial councils and the negative impact on investment work, as well as the spread of some administrative corruption.

NIC Chairman called for the importance of developing realistic and feasible plans for the next phase due to the possibility of world oil prices fluctuation, which forces those who practice economic activities in the country to work in accordance with the system of diversified and non-monolithic economy and bridging the widening gap between the parties involved in this activity on one hand and owners of capital, companies and businessmen on the other hand. This reflects a lack of accurate understanding to the spirit of the articles of the investment law.

Dr. Mahdi Al-Alallaq, Secretary-General of the Council of Ministers reviewed a number of issues that are challenging the investment process in Iraq, including the increasing unemployment rates and total dependence on the government sector instead of the private sector represented in large inflation in the number of workers in the form of contracts and daily wages in the various government departments. Fixing them in permanent jobs as governmental employees became a real entitlement to them but represents a major embarrassment to the budget.

All this is due to weak legislations that encourages working for the private sector such as social security and financial stability that enhance the workers feeling being equal to any governmental employee. Also, many relevant state departments are very conservatives regarding allocated lands for investment which in time created a huge obstacle to go on with investment projects.

He called to promote the investment opportunities already presented in Al Kuwait International Conference for Rebuilding Iraq last February and earned a big international interest.  He also assured the Council of Minsters’ support for those opportunities being the ideal solution for the Iraqi economy in this phase.

the head of the Secretariat of the Coordinating Commission for the Provinces, Mr. Turhan Al Mufti, asked the heads of the Provinces Investment Commissions to suggest the required mechanisms to deal with the investment departments in the ministries and other state institutions and thus contribute to bringing the views closer between the two parties, stressing that the third meeting will be between the concerned parties in investment in ministries and to accelerate adopting the necessary decisions to achieve the expected qualitative boom in the investment sector in Iraq in 2019

NIC Chairmen listened to a number of proposals and opinions from the heads of the provinces investment commissions, during which a number of things were covered, including the need to facilitate the bureaucratic procedures that the project goes through and the number of entities that inspect it and blackmailing investors and delays which makes many investors leave the country.  They also called for reducing external interventions in projects and reactivate the Department of Investors’ Protection.

(Source: NIC)

By Ranj Alaaldin.

The June 2014 takeover of Mosul by the Islamic State group (ISIS) was described as an existential threat to the Iraqi state and the post-2003 political order.

Yet, its emergence was only a symptom of a broader series of crises that had engulfed Iraq over the past decade. While militant groups dominate headlines, it is Iraq’s structural problems that have enabled their emergence.

This includes weakened or partly collapsed institutions; the absence of the rule of law; dysfunctional and corrupt governance; the ascendancy of sectarian divisions; and the disastrous post-conflict reconstruction process that followed the aftermath of the 2003 U.S. invasion.

State fragility in the Levant and the regional proxy war in Syria have exacerbated these challenges and have stifled Iraq’s efforts to stabilize and rehabilitate its institutions.

The full report can be read here.

(Source: Brookings Institution)

By Ranj Alaaldin.

Iraq now has a new government in place, six months after holding elections against a backdrop of a long period of political instability and social unrest.

With the new leadership of Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi and President Barham Salih—both widely touted as reformist, progressive, and Western-leaning—there are high hopes that the country will turn a new chapter after three bloody and arduous years of combatting the so-called Islamic State.

Iraq has a multitude of problems, but with this new coalition government, which includes Iraq’s main communities and factions (Mahdi is a Shia politician, Salih a Kurdish one), there could be an important opportunity to seize the momentum and move the country forward.

The full report can be read here.

(Source: Brookings Institution)

By Salam Zidane for Al Monitor. Any views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News. 

Can Abdul Mahdi make Iraq’s grand plans a reality?

New Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi recently submitted an ambitious development and financial plan to parliament, but his proposals will face major challenges — namely a lack of revenues, spreading financial and administrative corruption, a weak administrative system and a struggling private sector.

Abdul Mahdi, who was sworn in Oct. 24, has held important economic positions in the past.

He was Iraq’s finance minister in 2004 and oil minister in 2014. In articles he published in his Al-Adala newspaper, he portrays himself as an economist capable of addressing the country’s crises.

His ministerial platform focuses on 15 points to stimulate the investment environment, aid the market economy, develop the oil industry and find international sources of funding to support more than 100 national development projects.

Click here to read the full story.

By Harith Hasan, for Carnegie Middle East Center.

Adel Abdul-Mahdi was a compromise candidate as prime minister, that’s his major problem.

A few weeks before he was sworn in as Iraq’s new prime minister on October 21, ‘Adel ‘Abdul-Mahdi wrote a commentary saying he would refuse the position because “the right conditions for success [were] not in place.”

Even if the political factions supported him, he continued, they would soon reverse course once he started tackling serious problems in a way they deemed harmful to their interests.

Abdul-Mahdi specifically mentioned reforms such as moving Iraq away from a rentier to a productive economy, ending the country’s centralized governance system, fighting endemic corruption, developing public institutions, and promoting the rule of law.

Click here to read the full story.

(Source: Carnegie Middle East Center)

His Excellency Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi has received Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman bin Jassem al-Thani Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar and his accompanying delegation.

The delegation included a group of ministers and advisers. During the meeting, they have discussed boosting bilateral cooperation in various sectors, especially in the economic sector, in addition to the situation in the region.

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman bin Jassem Al Thani has conveyed greetings and blessings of the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani to His Excellency Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi on the occasion of the government formation and the desire of the State of Qatar to enhance cooperation between the two countries.

Qatari Deputy Prime Minister has confirmed that the similarities are great between the two countries and that his country is looking forward to developing these relations, noting that Iraq has emerged after its victory over terrorism stronger and much more dependent on the next phase in economic and trade cooperation in the field of energy and others.

His Excellency Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi has welcomed the delegation, stressing the importance of relations between the two countries, expressing Iraq’s inspiration for expanding to other fields.

His Excellency has added that the development of the economy, investment, and job creation are priorities of our ministerial platform. Therefore, we are working for good relations with countries, facilitating investment procedures which will contribute to the development of the economy.

His Excellency has reaffirmed that Iraq is recovering and moving forward after defeating terrorism, dazzling the world. It is very important to provide the necessary investment environment to improve the country’s situation in all sectors.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani, on behalf of the Amir of Qatar, has invited His Excellency Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi to visit Qatar.

The Qatari delegation has included Ali Ahmed al-Kuwari Minister of Commerce and Industry, Ahmed Bin Mohammed al-Missned advisor to the Emir of the State of Qatar for National Security, Faisal Bin Thani al-Thani Chairman of Qatar Investment Authority, Khalifa al-Kuwari, Director of Qatar Development Fund.

(Source: Media Office of the Prime Minister)