By John Lee.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) awarded dnata the IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO) Registration in Iraq, following the successful completion of a comprehensive audit of the company and its ground-handling operations at Erbil International Airport (EBL).

Tom Alwyn-Jones, General Manager of dnata Erbil, said:

We are thrilled to mark an important milestone in our ongoing commitment to safety and security by achieving the prestigious ISAGO certification. We constantly invest in training, processes and technology and engage our highly-skilled people at all levels of the organisation to deliver world-class safety for our customers. The successful completion of IATA’s comprehensive audit demonstrates our ability to consistently achieve the highest standards across our operations.

“I thank our skilled team for their hard work and dedication. We continue to go the extra mile to provide service excellence to our customers, every day.

dnata provides ramp, passenger and cargo handling services to more than 40 airlines in Erbil. The company’s customer-oriented team in Iraq consists of over 300 highly-skilled aviation professionals, who assisted 1.8 million passengers and ensured the smooth and safe operations of 10,000 flights in 2019.

ISAGO is an audit program for ground-handling companies serving airlines at airports covering the areas of organization and management, load control, passenger and baggage handling, aircraft handling and loading and aircraft ground movement.

It offers benefits to airlines, ground handlers, regulatory as well as airport authorities. These include safer ground operations, fewer accidents and injuries, elimination of redundant audits, reduced costs, less damage and fewer audits, a uniform audit process and harmonized standards, improved safety oversight, harmonized auditor training and qualifications, improved quality standards, and enhanced understanding of high-risk areas within ground operations.

(Source: dnata)

From Al Jazeera. Any opinions expressed are those of the author(s), and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraq is seeing an unprecedented rise in the number of coronavirus infections as doctors warn the healthcare system is close to collapse.

Ten days after the government decided to partly ease the curfew in Iraq, the rate of COVID-19 infections is rising rapidly, with more than 1,800 new cases recorded a day.

Al Jazeera‘s Simona Foltyn reports from Baghdad:

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

Iraqi protesters set sights on local governors

Protesters in central and southern Iraq are demanding the sacking of governors and local government administrators.

The protests have spread to Kirkuk, where demonstrators called for removing the governor and other local officials, calling them representatives of corrupt parties.

Click here to read the full story.

You are invited to help IBBC and World Bank to introduce Iraqi SME’s to FREE business training courses

WHEN: 29th June, 6pm to 8pm Iraq time

Please share this free business training initiative and the course registration with any SME in your network, however small, and encourage them to sign up.

Arabic version for sharing with your contacts here
WebEx Link: Join Using WebEx

YouTube Livestream: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxeuaarijuE

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) has been asked by the World Bank to support them in the promotion of business resilience and training courses for SME’s in Iraq.

The driver behind this initiative is to give Iraqi SME’s support to ride out and survive the business effects of COVID-19 pandemic and the effect it has particularly on the smaller businesses in the economy.

The support is in the form of four free business training courses that SME’s can take via Webex or Youtube, provided they sign up.

As a partner to the World Bank, IBBC is contacting our Chambers of Commerce and Union contacts, and those businesses we can alert.

The courses cover four topics :

  1. Business Planning.
  2. Accessing Finance.
  3. Communicating.
  4. Thriving.

We recognise that your suppliers are most likely to be already well prepared, but if there are some who may be finding the current economic climate challenging, these courses will provide a good sense check to best practice.

Please follow this link for the WebEx how-to manual in English

Please follow this link for the WebEx how-to manual in Arabic

Please let us know if there are any further questions by contacting london@webuildiraq.org

We very much hope that your teams will be able to share these courses with your supplier and business ecology.

(Source: IBBC)

Siemens Energy and the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity have signed a contract for the Al Hamudhia substation, which will provide reliable and efficient power supply to the cities of Ramadi, Fallujah, Saqlawyah, Khalediyah and surrounding areas in Al Anbar governorate, North West of Baghdad.

Located about 20 kilometers away from Ramadi city, the turnkey 400- kilovolt (kV) Al Hamudhia substation will support greater grid connectivity and allows for a higher utilization of the Al Anbar power plant’s generated power, supporting anticipated energy demand growth of 10% annually.

Ammar Mohammed Kadhim, General Director of Planning and Studies Department, Iraqi Ministry of Electricity and the Head of the Japanese loan team “IQP22” projects at the Ministry, which are being financed by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), said:

A top priority for the new government of Iraq is rebuilding the country’s power infrastructure. Upgrading and strengthening the Iraqi power grid is crucial to this ambitious plan, which will ultimately support Iraq’s economic, industrial and infrastructure development.

“We’re already working on comprehensive grid projects across the country in collaboration with international partners, like Siemens, to deploy the most reliable and advanced technologies.

The new substation will connect up to 750 Megavolt Amperes (MVA) to the national grid, helping decrease bottlenecks and transmission losses. Construction of Al Hamudhia station is expected to start in July 2020, and is scheduled for completion in July 2022.

Mahmoud Hanafy, Senior Vice President, Transmission Solutions at Siemens Energy, Middle East, said:

The new substation will support in providing reliable power to the homes and industries in the governorate of Al Anbar.

“Our grid technology enables more reliable, sustainable, efficient and flexible power systems. From transporting electricity from power plants to the distribution stations, all the way to the citizens, our ability to optimize flexibility and efficiency will contribute to boosting the transmission infrastructure of Iraq.

Part of the JICA’s projects in Iraq, the 400-kV Al Hamudhia’s scope of work includes the design, construction, equipment supply, erection, testing and commissioning and training of personnel. The project will be completed by Siemens Energy’s engineers in collaboration with specialized local Iraqi subcontractors.

The company is currently building 13, 132/33-kilovolt substations as part of the Siemens Roadmap for the Electrification of Iraq. These projects aim to strengthen the country’s electricity transmission and distribution network – with a particular focus on the governorate of Basra as well as the other governorates that are located in the middle and south of the country. Siemens is also supplying 35 power transformers to support the Iraqi power grid.

In April 2019, Siemens and the Government of Iraq signed an agreement to implement Phase 1 of the Roadmap, which is designed to meet the country’s reconstruction and power sector goals, and includes the addition of new and highly-efficient power generation capacity, rehabilitation and upgrade of existing power plants and the expansion of transmission and distribution networks. Following Siemens Roadmap for the Electrification of Iraq agreement, 791 MW of electricity has already been added to the country’s grid.

(Source: Siemens)

By John Lee.

Iraq’s Ministry of Oil has announced finalised oil exports for May of 99,585,283 barrels, giving an average for the month of 3.212 million barrels per day (bpd), down from the 3.438 million bpd exported in April.

These exports from the oilfields in central and southern Iraq amounted to 96,039,852 barrels, while exports from Kirkuk amounted to 3,545,431 barrels.

Revenues for the month were $2.136 billion at an average price of $21.450 per barrel.

April’s export figures can be found here.

(Source: Ministry of Oil)

By Omar al-Jaffal for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraq’s plans to cut salaries face strong backlash

The government of Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi is seeking to reopen the “social justice” issue regarding state spending on salaries.

This means abolishing double salaries, reducing allocations to political prisoners and martyrs and compensation to those who fled to Rafha in Saudi Arabia during the 1991 Shiite uprising in southern Iraq.

Click here to read the full story.

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)

Iraq’s Council of Ministers (Cabinet) has announced details of its decision taken at its regular weekly meeting on 09/06/2020 in relation to the payment of more than one salary and other benefits to former detainees at Camp Rafha.

The decision ends the payment of more than one salary, restricts the payment to heads of household provided that they reside in Iraq, and limits the amount to no more than 1,000,000 Iraqi dinars per recipient.

Here is the decision in full:

The Council of Ministers

Decree No. (27) for the year 2020

The Council of Ministers decided at its fifth regular session, held on 9/6/2020, the following

1: The payment of the entitlements to detainees at Camp Rafha shall be made in accordance with the provisions of Law (35) of 2013, provided that the amount does not exceed an upper limit of  1,000,000 Iraqi dinars and meet the following conditions:

a) The detainee must be residing in Iraq

b) The detainee is currently the head of a household – payment will only be made to heads of household, and not to any other member of their household

c) The detainee is not in receipt of other salary, pension or any other income from the state

d) Recipients bear the responsibility for receiving salaries other than those in paragraphs (a, b, c) above, and proceedings will be taken against them

2: The Foundation of Political Prisoners shall ensure that the aforementioned conditions are met.

3: Other than the aforementioned, the financing of pensions and any financial entitlements of the detainees of Camp Rafha as stipulated in the Political Prisoners Law number (4) of 2006, as amended by Law number (35) of 2013, shall be suspended until further notice.

4: The implementation of Article (10) of Law number (26) of 2019, and of the First Amendment of the Unified Pension Law number (9) of 2014 regarding the abolition of all legal texts that allow for the payment of two or more salaries, except for the categories mentioned above.

The Iraqi government took this decision as the first in a broader set of reforms aimed at rationalising expenditure, reducing costs, delivering fairness, and addressing anomalies in public spending.

(Source: Govt of Iraq)

From Al Jazeera. Any opinions expressed are those of the author(s), and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Some of Iraq’s most traditional craft works are at risk of vanishing, as a nationwide financial crisis hits home-grown industries.

The government hopes prioritising the development of its private sector will help its otherwise oil-dependent economy.

Al Jazeera‘s Simona Foltyn has this report from Baghdad: