By John Lee.

Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi chaired on Monday a meeting in Baghdad of the Higher Committee for Health and National Safety.

At the start of the meeting, the Prime Minister told the Committee that the coronavirus pandemic challenge facing Iraq is unprecedented, and that this challenge has been exacerbated by cumulative past administrative failures.

Following discussions, the Committee decided to:

  • Provide the necessary additional funding, through inter-government fiscal transfer arrangements, to the Ministry of Health
  • Direct state-owned profitable and self-financing enterprises to support the Ministry of Health, and for the extra funds to be used by the provincial health authorities for the direct purchase of medicine and medical supplies
  • Permit the Ministry of Health to recruit additional medical staff, both on continuing and short term contracts, and to fund their salaries through inter-government fiscal transfer arrangements
  • Direct the General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers to prepare a draft law to grant medical and health professionals who have died as a result of their work combatting Covid-19 a pension equal to their last salary
  • Allow a number of  accredited private laboratories to conduct Covid-19 tests based on the strict criteria set by the Ministry of Health
  • Permit oxygen imports to enter Iraq via all border crossings, and to suspend payment by the Ministry of Health of the cost of oxygen supplies until its finances have recovered
  • Amend the partial curfew to start from 7 PM to 6 AM in line with the increase in daylight hours
  • Direct Baghdad Operations Command and the operations commands in the provinces to strictly enforce the curfew restrictions, and to hold them responsible for curfew violations
  • Direct Baghdad Municipality and the Directorate Civil Defence to disinfect areas in Baghdad which have a high rate of Covid-19 cases 
  • Exclude staff of the Arab Company for Antibiotic Industries and Supplies (AKAI) from curfew restrictions 
  • The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs shall coordinate with other countries which have announced that they are working on a potential treatments for Covid-19, and to negotiate with these countries to ensure that Iraq receives the necessary medicines and supplies  

(Source: Govt of Iraq)

By John Lee.

Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi chaired on Monday a meeting in Baghdad of the Higher Committee for Health and National Safety.

At the start of the meeting, the Prime Minister told the Committee that the coronavirus pandemic challenge facing Iraq is unprecedented, and that this challenge has been exacerbated by cumulative past administrative failures.

Following discussions, the Committee decided to:

  • Provide the necessary additional funding, through inter-government fiscal transfer arrangements, to the Ministry of Health
  • Direct state-owned profitable and self-financing enterprises to support the Ministry of Health, and for the extra funds to be used by the provincial health authorities for the direct purchase of medicine and medical supplies
  • Permit the Ministry of Health to recruit additional medical staff, both on continuing and short term contracts, and to fund their salaries through inter-government fiscal transfer arrangements
  • Direct the General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers to prepare a draft law to grant medical and health professionals who have died as a result of their work combatting Covid-19 a pension equal to their last salary
  • Allow a number of  accredited private laboratories to conduct Covid-19 tests based on the strict criteria set by the Ministry of Health
  • Permit oxygen imports to enter Iraq via all border crossings, and to suspend payment by the Ministry of Health of the cost of oxygen supplies until its finances have recovered
  • Amend the partial curfew to start from 7 PM to 6 AM in line with the increase in daylight hours
  • Direct Baghdad Operations Command and the operations commands in the provinces to strictly enforce the curfew restrictions, and to hold them responsible for curfew violations
  • Direct Baghdad Municipality and the Directorate Civil Defence to disinfect areas in Baghdad which have a high rate of Covid-19 cases 
  • Exclude staff of the Arab Company for Antibiotic Industries and Supplies (AKAI) from curfew restrictions 
  • The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs shall coordinate with other countries which have announced that they are working on a potential treatments for Covid-19, and to negotiate with these countries to ensure that Iraq receives the necessary medicines and supplies  

(Source: Govt of Iraq)

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Rabee Securities Iraq Stock Exchange (ISX) market report (week ending: 25th June 2020).

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

The RSISX index ended the week at IQD581 (-2.0%) / $603 (+3.1%) (weekly change) (-11.9% and -14.0% YTD change, respectively). The number of week traded shares was 2.4 bn and the weekly trading volume was IQD2.3 bn ($1.8 mn).

Note: According to the Public Health Committee’s decision to maintain curfew days on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, trading on the ISX will be from Sundays to Wednesdays until a further announcement.

 

ISX Company Announcements

  • ISX will suspend trading of Asiacell (TASC) starting Jul. 8, 2020 due to the AGM that will be held on Jul. 12, 2020 to discuss and approve 2019 annual financial statements.
  • Iraqi for Seed Production (AISP) will hold a GA on Jul. 5, 2020 to elect 4 original and 4 alternative board members from the private sector. The company has been suspended from trading since Nov. 12, 2019 due to not disclosing its 2019 financial statements.
  • Trust International Islamic Bank (BTRU) will resume trading on Jun. 28, 2020 after discussing and approving 2019 annual financial statements.
  • In order to support the economy of the country by developing agriculture and supporting Iraqi farms and creating an agricultural renaissance, and in order to support and employ young people to eliminate unemployment, and to achieve sustainable development through cooperation between the private banking sector and the public sector, and to achieve government goals by benefiting from local funds and promoting the local product, the International Islamic Bank (BINT) contracted with the Ministry of Industry and Minerals / Electronic Industries Company to finance water pumps operating by the solar energy system type Lorentz German according to Islamic contracts (Murabaha contract) within the CBI’s IQD1 trln initiative, where farmers will be financed with amounts that could reach IQD1.0 bn.

The Iraqi 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 outlined the challenges facing the country in relation to Covid-19 and the Iraqi government’s efforts to combat the pandemic and provide support to health institutions and medical teams.

The Prime Minister called on all Iraqis to follow the directions of the Higher Committee for Health and National Safety, and to follow official health advice for their own safety and that of all Iraqis.

The Cabinet discussed recent protests in relation to grievances to do with the Ministries of Defence, Education and Electricity. The Prime Minister directed ministers to engage in a dialogue with the protesters in order to reach realistic solutions commensurate with their demands and with the difficult challenges facing the country.

The Cabinet discussed current economic and financial challenges, and the necessary measures to encourage and promote investment in Iraq’s economy as a key driver of growth and of job-creation.

Following further discussions, the Cabinet decided to:

  • Allow students at stage 3 of intermediate education to progress to stage 1 of secondary education based on their half-term exam scores
  • Authorise the Minister of Health and Environment to take all necessary measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic
  • Consider combatting the pandemic a competency of the federal government, and falls within the general policy of the state
  • Provide the necessary support to expedite the completion of hospitals in Dhi Qar and Maysan provinces

(Source: Govt of Iraq)

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani chaired a meeting via video conference on Monday on the state of Kurdistan Region’s customs, border crossings, and companies providing service.

In the meeting attended by Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani and other ministers, the Prime Minister reaffirmed ongoing efforts to carry out financial reforms; organise trade, and review tax exemptions at all border crossings.

The meeting reviewed assessments from committees tasked with these areas as part of the reform agenda. The committee, headed by the Ministers of Interior and Finance, presented a detailed report on service contracts and challenges at the border crossings.

During the meeting, the Prime Minister underscored the cabinet’s priority to bring more certainty to the use of public wealth. He also noted the important role of the private sector and the need to promote local produce.

The meeting called for border crossings to be organised in accordance with international standards; stop illegal tax exemptions, and a review of all of service contracts.

(Source: KRG)

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani chairs meeting on combating new wave of Covid_19

KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani on Wednesday chaired a meeting with the government’s high-level committee on the coronavirus outbreak via video conference.

In the meeting attended by Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani, the Minister of Health presented a detailed report on the increasing number of infections and fatalities in the Kurdistan Region due to a recent surge in Covid_19 cases. The Minister of Interior then presented a report on government measures to enforce compliance with the government’s health advice.

Following an exchange of views on how to curb the spread of the disease, the government’s committee on coronavirus made the following decisions:

  1. First: The government’s public health guidance will continue, including quarantine and delivering services to the infected, contacts and tourists. The campaign to spread awareness on the disease and health advice will intensify too.
  2. Second: The committee also decided to make wearing a mask mandatory in public places and institutions. There will be a supply of masks at government institutions for people visiting these places. Violators will be held accountable to the law.
  3. Third: The government will allocate an additional 5 billion Iraqi dinars to fight the pandemic. Health institutions in all provinces and counties can benefit from these funds.
  4. Fourth: The government will facilitate the production of masks and other equipment to ensure high quality and affordable pricing.
  5. Fifth: The Ministry of Health is permitted to expand laboratory services and set necessary mechanisms to diagnose and identify virus patients Ministry teams will continue contact tracing and tracking suspect cases.
  6. Sixth: The Ministries of Health and Interior along with the Department of Foreign Relations were assigned to contact and visit relevant departments in the Iraqi government and the World Health Organization (WHO) in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region as well as consulates and international organisations to seek assistance for the fight against the virus.
  7. Seventh: The travel ban between provinces in the Kurdistan Region and between the Kurdistan Region and Iraqi cities will continue, and measures to protect from the virus will toughen amid a recent surge in infections. The Ministries of Peshmerga Affairs and Interior were also assigned to schedule reporting to duty hours in a way to minimise travel and contact, especially for those who commute from other cities to work. The same will apply to employees of other departments, who have to commute to work.

(Source: KRG)

Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi chaired a meeting of the Higher Committee for Health and National Safety on Saturday.

At the start of the meeting, the Prime Minister paid tribute to Iraq’s health teams and security forces and thanked them for their hard work during the Covid-19 health emergency.

The Prime Minister called on all Iraqis to remain vigilant, abide by the curfew, follow official health advice and physical distancing rules, and avoid gatherings.

Following discussions, the Higher Committee for Health and National Safety decided to:

Extend the nationwide curfew until Saturday 13/06/2020

Impose a partial curfew between 6 PM and 5 AM from Sunday 14/06/2020

Impose a curfew for 24 hours a day every Thursday, Friday and Saturday

Maintain the ban on all gatherings in all their forms

Maintain the ban on travel within provinces

The Committee also decided that:

Parks, cafes, cinemas, malls, sport centres, private teaching institutes, swimming pools and shops to remain closed, except for food stores, bakeries and pharmacies which remain exempt. Restaurants will also stay closed, except for home delivery services.

(Source: Govt of Iraq)

The Government of Denmark has committed DKK 6,000,000 (approximately US$870,000) to support the Government of Iraq’s response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Iraq.

The funds have been pledged under UNDP Iraq’s overall COVID-19 response package which is administered under the Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS) and includes increasing the testing capacity of laboratories, providing personal protective equipment to healthcare workers, increasing the number of isolation wards, promoting social cohesion, and undertaking assessments to establish post-COVID-19 recovery strategies.

Denmark’s contribution will largely focus on supporting local peace committees – established by UNDP with Denmark’s support in 2018, to promote social cohesion, peace and stability in Iraq post-ISIL – to respond to the pandemic. Funds will also be used to boost the capacity of youth and women’s community groups to address social issues like stigma and discrimination among communities.

In connection with the Danish support, the Danish Foreign Minister, Jeppe Kofod (pictured), stated:

“The Danish support for Iraq’s COVID-19 response is a part of our continuous support for peace and stabilization in Iraq. It is very encouraging to see how local community groups are stepping up in response to the COVID-19 pandemic – and I applaud the tremendous work carried out by both UNDP and these community groups, which is essential in our common efforts to curb the spread of the virus”.

The UNDP Iraq’s Resident Representative, Zena Ali Ahmad, said:

The support of community groups in managing the COVID-19 pandemic has been invaluable. Local peace committees, along with community youth and women’s groups, have taken the initiative to protect their own communities from COVID-19 through initiatives such as sterilizing public spaces, providing food baskets for vulnerable families, and setting up mobile health clinics.

“These activities help to curb the spread of the virus but at the same time promote more cohesive communities. We’re grateful to Government of Denmark for this generous contribution and their continued commitment to a peaceful Iraq.

Denmark is a key partner for UNDP Iraq, providing more than $58 million for stabilization, social cohesion, and security sector reform activities since 2015.

(Source: UN)

Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi chaired on Saturday a joint meeting of  the Higher Committee for Health and National Safety and the parliamentary Covid-19 crisis cell.

At the start of the meeting, the Prime Minister paid tribute to Iraq‘s health teams for being on the frontline during the current health emergency, and to Iraqi security forces for supporting Iraq‘s national effort to combat Covid-19.

The Prime Minister thanked Iraqi families for observing the curfew and complying with other restrictions during this very challenging period.

Following discussions, the joint meeting agreed a number of measures, including:

  • Extending the nationwide curfew in Iraq until 06/06/2020. Grocery stores, bakeries and pharmacies are exempt, provided that no more than five customers are allowed into such premises at any one time, and that both staff and customers wear face masks
  • Restaurants to remain closed, but are allowed to offer home delivery service
  • All ministries will remain closed during this period, except for the ministries of Health, Electricity, Agriculture and Water Resources, as well security ministries and municipality services
  • The wearing of face masks in public remains compulsory, with fines for those who fail to comply
  • Domestic flights remain suspended, as are flights to and from Iraq
  • The security forces are directed to strictly enforce these measures in cities and towns, and within neighbourhoods

The joint meeting underscored the importance of all citizens continuing to follow official health advice and physical distancing guidelines, and to comply with the curfew to keep themselves, their families and communities safe.

(Source: Govt of Iraq)

Iraq: UN details ordeal of abducted protesters, welcomes Government’s promise to investigate and compensate

A United Nations report published today on the abduction of protesters in Iraq since last October details their ordeals from the time of abduction through interrogation to acts of torture.

In its fourth report on the protests, the UN Human Rights Office of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) documented cases involving 123 people who disappeared between 1 October 2019 and 21 March 2020. Of these, 98 people were located, but 25 remain missing or are in an unknown status.

Since the protests erupted at the start of October, the UN has verified 490 deaths of activists and 7,783 injured. Most of the protesters are young and unemployed, and have been demanding that their economic and social rights be respected. The demonstrations have continued even after the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country.

The report found that the “absence of accountability for these acts continues to contribute to the pervasive environment of impunity in relation to demonstration-linked reports of violations and abuses”.

“The establishment of a high-level fact-finding committee by the new Government to investigate casualties and related harm is a crucial step toward justice and accountability,” said Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq. “The Government’s commitment to provide medical treatment for injured demonstrators and compensation to the families of victims is encouraging.”

The report notes that the abductions and disappearances occurred amid numerous incidents involving additional violations and abuses targeting activists and protesters, including deliberate killings, shooting and knife attacks, threats and intimidation, and excessive and unlawful use of force at demonstration sites.

None of those interviewed knew the identity of those responsible for their abduction, although most speculated the involvement of ‘militia’. They added that they did not believe official Iraqi Security Forces were directly responsible, nor that ordinary criminal gangs were to blame.

The report does not speculate on who might be behind the abductions, points to “the involvement of armed actors with substantial levels of organisation and access to resources”.

The report provides concrete recommendations to the Government of Iraq, including:

  • Make immediate efforts to comply with its obligations under international law, including by making all efforts to locate those demonstrators and activists who remain missing.
  • Take immediate action to protect protesters and activists from abduction.
  • Take immediate action to investigate all alleged cases of abduction, disappearance and torture/ill-treatment, and to prosecute those responsible.
  • Publicly identify the so-called unidentified force, armed group or ‘militia’, behind the abductions.

The report in English and Arabic:

English: https://bit.ly/2A7oe75

Arabic: https://bit.ly/3ecuHwk

(Source: UN)