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 thanked health teams for their sacrifices on the front line during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Cabinet received a briefing from the Minister of Health on the latest developments and the ongoing national effort to combat the pandemic.

Following discussions, the Cabinet decided to:

  • Implement a previous decision by the government to award, free of charge, plots of land for health staff who have direct contact with Covid-19 patients
  • Direct the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research to allocate additional places on postgraduate courses, outside its current plan for the 2020-2021 academic year, for health staff wishing to pursue further studies

The Cabinet discussed other items on its agenda, and decided to authorise the Minister of Finance to negotiate and sign loan agreements to ensure funding for several investment projects in the electricity and health sectors, as follows:

  • A loan to complete a project for the Ministry of Electricity to install (8) turbine refrigeration units and (32) other refrigeration units at a cost of 70,800,000 euros from Siemens
  • A loan for the installation and operation of (9) gas turbines for the Wasit power station for the amount of 36,000,000 euros  from Siemens for the Ministry of Electricity, funded by Standard Chartered Bank and with a guarantee from the Swedish Export Credit Agency (EKN)
  • A loan for the rehabilitation of health services infrastructure in the amount of 185,000,000 euros for the Ministry of Health funded by the German Development Bank (KFW)
  • A loan for the rehabilitation of electricity infrastructure in the amount of 400,000,000 euros, for the Ministry of Electricity, funded by the German Development Bank, KFW
  • A loan for the multi-annual maintenance project – the fourth stage in the amount of US$120,000,000 implemented by GE with funding from an international bank and  guaranteed by UK Export Finance (UKEF)
  • A loan for Babylon’s 400 KV Power Plant Rehabilitation Project, in the amount of 38,000,000 euros, implemented by Sweden’s ABB company, funded by JPMorgan Bank and guaranteed by the Swedish Export Credit Agency,  EKN

The Cabinet also approved a draft law to ratify the agreement on air transport services between the Republic of Iraq and the United Arab Emirates, and to submit it to the Council of Representatives.

(Source: Govt of Iraq)

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

Iraq poised for ambitious plan after Babylon listed by UNESCO

After 36 years of lobbying by Iraq, the ancient Mesopotamian city of Babylon was designated in JulyUNESCO World Heritage Site.

But this may mean even harder work for Baghdad and the local administration, which now have to implement a tough plan for the management and protection of the site that was the seat of successive empires under rulers such as Hammurabi and Nebuchadnezzar.

Click here to read the full article.

By John Lee.

Iraq’s ancient city of Babylon has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Situated 85 km south of Baghdad, the property includes the ruins of the city which, between 626 and 539 BCE, was the capital of the Neo-Babylonian Empire.

It includes villages and agricultural areas surrounding the ancient city. Its remains, outer and inner-city walls, gates, palaces and temples, are a unique testimony to one of the most influential empires of the ancient world.

Seat of successive empires, under rulers such as Hammurabi and Nebuchadnezzar, Babylon represents the expression of the creativity of the Neo-Babylonian Empire at its height.

The city’s association with one of the seven wonders of the ancient world—the Hanging Gardens—has also inspired artistic, popular and religious culture on a global scale.

(Source: UNESCO)

By John Lee.

Iraqi President Barham Salih has called on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to include the ancient city of Babylon in its World Heritage List.

The President made the request at meeting with UNESCO Director Audrey Azoulay in France.

They also discussed the provision of job opportunities within UNESCO for Iraqi workers in the area of “scientific research sector, developing plans and programs to address problems in water resources and environment, improving education and granting priority to scholarship for researchers“.

(Source: Office of the Iraqi President)

By John Lee.

Iraqi President Barham Salih has called on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to include the ancient city of Babylon in its World Heritage List.

The President made the request at meeting with UNESCO Director Audrey Azoulay in France.

They also discussed the provision of job opportunities within UNESCO for Iraqi workers in the area of “scientific research sector, developing plans and programs to address problems in water resources and environment, improving education and granting priority to scholarship for researchers“.

(Source: Office of the Iraqi President)

By John Lee.

Iraq’s National Investment Commission (NIC) has included four Special Economic Zones in its list of major strategic projects to be presented during the Kuwait International Conference for Iraq Reconstruction, to be held in Kuwait from 12th to 14th February:

  1. Huteen zone/ Babylon Province for medium & heavy engineering manufacturing.
    Huteen is located in Babylon Province/ Eskandariya city near the State Co. for Mechanical Industries and the State Co. for Automobiles.
    40 km to the north of Hilla city center, 50 km to Baghdad city center.
    550 km to Basra city and its ports
    10 km east to the Euphrates
    12 km to the north of Al Musaiab thermo electricity station
    Total area is 15000000 m², around 6000 donum in addition to branch streets within the site.
    Sewage, water pipes, electricity and facilities are available with limited damages.
    45 big area warehouses protected with earth embankment for highly immunized products.
  2. Mid Euphrates zone in Dewaniya, 1500 donum for agricultural industries (agro-industry) including dairy products, fruits, vegetables and meat processing and canning.
  3. Fine Machining zone in Nineveh (Al Kindi Co., site or Jabir Bin Hayan Co. site). One of the sites to be selected to produce machinery and equipment for medium and small projects such as valves and pumps.
  4. Baghdad zone (near BIAP) for advance technologies (Smart city).
    The smart city shall provide various activities for interested people in information technology, entertainment and social technologies. It also includes a training center, weekly gathering of professionals and specialists, meetings and scientific debates halls, computer courses for children, restaurant and coffee shop, markets for electronic devices, internet services center, a training center to develop human skills, a museum for communication devices and post stamps representing Iraq’s history, halls for investing companies, halls for simulating modern training technologies, a hotel for the visitors and many other services.

The full 46-page document can be downloaded here.

(Source: NIC)

The Federal Republic of Germany has donated EUR 4 million to IOM Iraq to support its “Strengthening Community Policing in Iraq” project between March 2016 and December 2017.

By supporting community policing in Iraq, IOM enhances overall efforts to advance democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Iraq in liberated areas. Community-policing models promote mediation and negotiation to resolve conflicts and build trust between the community and the police.

The Community Police Project includes training on community policing principles, establishing Community Police Forums, and encouraging dialogue between civil society and law enforcement agencies.

In 2015, a total of 16 Community Policing Forums were established across six governorates in southern, central and northern Iraq, engaging over 500 community members, 80 police officers, more than 80 government officials and 70 civil society members.

The project will reinforce these efforts by strengthening the capacity of the Community Police in Iraq and increasing the capacity of communities and civil society to engage in constructive dialogue on security issues.

The project will enhance the existing community police infrastructure and provide needed equipment to improve police access to communities in liberated areas, but also in central and southern Iraq.

The training component will target law enforcement personnel, as well as representatives of internally displaced Iraqi communities, to facilitate the work of the community police, particularly in areas of return.

By Adnan Abu Zeed for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

The ruins of the city of Babil, some 56 miles south of Baghdad, flourished as the ancient Mesopotamian capital of Babylon, founded in the 19th century BC.

Since that time, the city has suffered from neglect, and poor treatment of its buildings and the very ground it was built on. There is now talk among Iraqi cultural officials of reviving tourism in the city.

Two events of the modern era greatly contributed to jeopardizing or destroying parts of Babil’s ancient heritage. The first involved renovations under former President Saddam Hussein as part of his political-construction program.

In 1988, some of the buildings were renovated in such a way that UNESCO protested on the ground that the changes threatened Babil’s historic status. UNESCO removed the city from its World Heritage List that same year.

Jeff Allen, field manager for the Future of Babylon project, told Deutsche Welle on June 21, 2013, that work was underway to reinstate Babil to the UNESCO World Heritage List by removing all the modern renovations made to the city in 1980, such as concrete slabs at the Ishtar Gate.

By Adnan Abu Zeed for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

The ruins of the city of Babil, some 56 miles south of Baghdad, flourished as the ancient Mesopotamian capital of Babylon, founded in the 19th century BC.

Since that time, the city has suffered from neglect, and poor treatment of its buildings and the very ground it was built on. There is now talk among Iraqi cultural officials of reviving tourism in the city.

Two events of the modern era greatly contributed to jeopardizing or destroying parts of Babil’s ancient heritage. The first involved renovations under former President Saddam Hussein as part of his political-construction program.

In 1988, some of the buildings were renovated in such a way that UNESCO protested on the ground that the changes threatened Babil’s historic status. UNESCO removed the city from its World Heritage List that same year.

Jeff Allen, field manager for the Future of Babylon project, told Deutsche Welle on June 21, 2013, that work was underway to reinstate Babil to the UNESCO World Heritage List by removing all the modern renovations made to the city in 1980, such as concrete slabs at the Ishtar Gate.

By John Lee.

Babylon Investment Commission (BIC) has invited investors to set up in the Industrial Zone at Al-Kefel, Babil. In a statement, the BIC said:

Babylon Investment Commission is pleased to announce completing the procedures of specifying the Industrial Zone borders in Al- Kefel area to be extended on parts of the lots numbered 17/1 and 17/6 on total area of 3000 Donum according to investment law No. 13 for the year 2006, amended.

Investors are invited to invest in this zone according to the following conditions:

The zone is allowing all environment polluting industries of types (A, B, and C) excluding Bricks and Asphalt factories.

Investor is required to provide the following documents annexed to his/her filled application:

  • Economic and technical feasibility study for the project
  • The project technical drawings
  • The investor’s official identification papers and documents
  • Financial competency from an accredited bank with the project funding details
  • A clear time table for completing the project phases
  • Previous similar achieved projects

The investor shall obtain all privileges and guaranties of investment law as tax and customs exemptions, transfer of capitals, revenues and workers fees, in case the investor is a foreigner, according to the instructions of the Central Bank of Iraq.

Applications submitted through the email shall be accepted, providing that official documents are provided before granting the investment license.

For further information, please visit Babylon Investment Commission website www.bic.gov.iq or send an email to info@bic.gov.iq

(Source: NIC)