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 John Lee.

The National Investment Commission (NIC), in cooperation with the Babylon Investment Commission, is pleased to announce the following investment opportunities:

  1. Educational Research Center and Environment Laboratories within the main university site area of 1300 m² plot number 1/3474 m 17 Tajia.
  2. The Central Student Club of the University of Babylon within the main university site with an area of 2000 m² plot number 1/3474 m 17 Tajia.
  3. Medical Research Center and Specialized Educational Laboratories within the university’s main site with an area of 2900 m² plot number 24/17859 m 17 Waseya.
  4. Educational swimming pools with multi-purpose hall within the main university site with an area of 12500 m² plot number 1/12908 m 17 Tajia.

Those who wishes to invest in the above-mentioned investment opportunities can visit Babylon Investment Commission to review the special requirements of each opportunity, knowing that applications are accepted until the end of official working hours on Wednesday 5/12/2018.

(Source: National Investment Commission)

(Picture: Business opportunity word cloud, from ibreakstock/Shutterstock)

By John Lee.

The National Investment Commission (NIC) has announced new investment opportunities in Iraq:

  1. Sugar production, General Company for Food Products
  2. Hydraulic centre, Hydraulic Industries State Company

(Source: National Investment Commission)

(Picture: Business opportunity word cloud, from ibreakstock/Shutterstock)

By John Lee.

The National Investment Commission (NIC) has announced new investment opportunities in Iraq:

  1. Glass production, State Company for Glass and Refractories Industry (SCGR)
  2. Drugs and Medical Appliances (Samarra), State Company for Drugs and Medical Appliances

(Source: National Investment Commission)

(Picture: Business opportunity word cloud, from ibreakstock/Shutterstock)

By John Lee.

The National Investment Commission (NIC) has announced new investment opportunities in Iraq:

  1. Sugar production, General Company for Food Products
  2. Tyre production, State Company for Rubber Industries and Tyres

(Source: National Investment Commission)

(Picture: Business opportunity word cloud, from ibreakstock/Shutterstock)

By John Lee.

The National Investment Commission (NIC) has announced new investment opportunities in Iraq:

  1. Glass production, State Company for Glass and Refractories
  2. Overhead Cranes, State Company for Steel Industries
  3. Fallujah Cement Plant, Iraqi State Cement Company

(Source: National Investment Commission)

(Picture: Business opportunity word cloud, from ibreakstock/Shutterstock)

By Wassim Bassem 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 favorite lake dries up in sign of worse to come

Karbala’s Lake Milh hasn’t seen a lot of visitors in the last few years. Once a popular picnic destination for Karbala residents, the lake’s water has dwindled, leaving most of it a desert with nothing but derelict fishing boats and dead animals.

The second-largest lake in Iraq, Lake Milh is also known as Lake Razzaza; it lies west of Karbala and southwest of Baghdad. It is fed by the Euphrates River as well as rainfall and groundwater sources. Over the last decade, however, it has been drying up.

Saeed Ali, a fish vendor who lives near the lake, told Al-Monitor, “The lake was an important source of fish in the ’80s and ’90s. But with time, it has become a mere pond that will one day dry out completely if the issue is not addressed.”

Furat al-Tamimi, head of the parliament’s Committee for Agriculture, Water and Marshlands, said the situation requires immediate attention. He told Al-Monitor, “The Ministry of Water Resources and the committee are informed of the situation at Lake Milh. We are tracking the declining water levels at the lake with great concern. This is also happening in many other lakes and rivers.”

Tamimi said the lake’s falling levels are related to the drought that has plagued Iraq since 2017; some estimate the drought will continue until 2026. But there are no plans to restore the lake, said Tamimi, a deputy from Ammar Hakim’s Hikmat movement. He said a number of civil society activists and specialists on natural resources in Karbala province have criticized the “government’s idleness over the water crisis in Lake Milh,” with some activists working together on a media campaign to draw the world’s attention to the lake.

Engineer Aoun Thyab, the most senior member of the advisory board of the Ministry of Water Resources, said the problem is much more complicated. “Addressing this problem is not so simple,” Thyab told Al-Monitor. “Protests and calls on environmental groups won’t solve it because the problem is related to internal and regional policies involving the water sector, as well as the rain and streams that flow from the desert.”

Thyab said the Ministry of Water Resources dropped Lake Milh entirely from its water supply calculations in a 2015 strategic study. “As such, Lake Milh is no longer seen as useful for irrigation, water storage or fish farming.”

He said Lake Milh’s levels decreased from 34 meters (112 feet) above sea level to 20 meters (66 feet) with the drought. “This was due to a number of overwhelming factors, especially the decrease in the Euphrates River, which is the lake’s inflow, because of the Turkish dams that reduced Iraq’s water share. Add to this the scarcer rainfall in recent years and the depletion of streams that flow from the desert around the lake.”

He said, “Lake Milh has also seen higher evaporation levels, which increased salinity, making it effectively impossible for fish to inhabit the lake.” Thyab said that in the 1990s the Iraqi Ministry of Agriculture experimented with a project to farm sea fish but that project proved to be a failure. “It is safe to say that the lake is dead.”

Thyab’s remarks indicate that it would be next to impossible to restore Lake Milh as a tourist attraction whose beautiful flora and fauna once brought foreign and Iraqi tourists from every province.

Karbala has also suffered greatly from the armed conflicts in the last decade, most recently when armed groups who fought against the Iraqi state used it as a base. The city of Karbala’s practice of draining polluted water into the lake has also contributed to the problem.

But there is hope for the lake yet. In January, the Iraqi National Investment Commission (NIC) unveiled a $25 million investment project to rehabilitate and develop both Lake Milh and al-Habbaniya, a lake linked to Milh by the narrow Sin-Al-Thibban Canal.

The project includes building a tourist attraction over approximately 4,000 acres and overhauling the existing hotels and 200 apartments to modern standards, as well as a full amusement park, a marina, world-class restaurants and a media center.

The locals worry that the efforts come too late to save the lake. Local engineer Fayez Eisa, who oversees the area’s anti-desertification project, told Al-Monitor, “Tired of dealing with the bureaucratic red tape on contracts and permits, the Karbala Holy Shrine administration has established a green belt around 2000 dunams (494 acres) of desert land, where they dug dozens of wells to provide water to the farming areas around Lake Milh.”

Lakes such as Milh represent essential natural reservoirs in efforts to fight the drought that haunts Iraq’s agriculture sector. Cooperation with neighboring countries to restore and protect them will be crucial to the region’s survival.

(Picture credit: عمر سيروان)

By John Lee.

The National Investment Commission (NIC), and the State Company for Drugs and Medical Appliances, have announced an opportunity to invest in the rehabilitation, modernization and operation of the Samarra drugs plant.

In a statement, the NIC said:

It invites reliable Arab and foreign companies directly or their agents – not mediator or supported – to participate in this investment opportunity to rehabilitate and modernize this plant on basisof participating in management, production, increasing the production capacities and take pasrt in this valuable opportunity to satisfy the Iraqi market demands and for the economic feasibility and the realizable privileges for the investors such as the availability of the essential materials for production .

“Willing investors can obtain the investment profile from the company HQ in Samarra as per the companies law no. 22 for the year 1997 as amended, article 15/3rd ; for an amount of (500,000) IDR non- refundable.

“The company shall offer all detailed information and facilitate the visit to the plan. Applications shall be according to the terms stated in the investment profile , provided that applications should be submitted by a sealed envelope before the end of the work time of Thursday 12.07.2018.

You may also visit the website www.sdisamarra.com

More details can be downloaded here (English from page 43)

(Source: National Investment Commission)

Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, President of the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC), visited Baghdad on 2-3 June, accompanied by Managing Director Christophe Michels, as well as Rasmi Al Jabri, Deputy Chairman and Iraq Representative to meet with numerous politicians and IBBC member representatives.

Jonathan Wilks CMG, Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Iraq joined the IBBC team for several high profile meetings.

The IBBC management first attended a religious tolerance seminar and Iftar dinner on 2 June organised by the AMAR Foundation in Baghdad, where numerous representatives of different religious groups in Iraq were present, as well as notable academics, journalists and artists. The dinner was preceded by a meeting with the Chaldeen Patriarch.

Meetings were held on 3 June with H.E. Mr Kadhim Finjan, Iraqi Minister of Transport together with  IBBC Member representatives from Serco, G4S, Al Burhan Group and Menzies Aviation at Adnan Place in Baghdad, where constructive talks were held on further cooperation in the civil aviation industry.

Later meetings were also held with Dr Mehdi Al Alak, Secretary General of the Council of Ministers and Dr AbdulKariem Al Faisal, Chairman of the Prime Minister’s Advisory Committee at the Council of Ministers in Baghdad on behalf of IBBC members.

The IBBC team also met Dr Barham Salih, former Prime Minister of the KRG and former Deputy Prime Minister of the Government of Iraq and founder and leader of the Coalition for Democracy and Justice. Dr Barham Salih is a long-time friend and associate of the Iraq Britain Business Council and will be attending the IBBC Weekend Retreat at Cumberland Lodge in Windsor Great Park from 6-8 July.

In the late afternoon of 3 June IBBC hosted a meeting for its members at the Babylon hotel. The meeting was joined by Dr Sami Al Araji, Chairman of the National Investment Commission, Professor Sabbah Mushatat, Advisor to the Prime Minister and Eng. Dara Rasheed, Deputy Minister for Housing, Construction & Public Municipalities and Deputy Head of Refaato (Reconstruction fund for areas affected by terrorism https://www.refaato.iq/en/) .

IBBC also visited The Station in Baghdad during their visit, which is the first combined workspace in Iraq, providing tech and artistic entrepreneurs with a communal space and resources to develop and expand business projects. This exciting initiative is a boost to a small but growing number of young Iraqis willing to engage and develop the private sector in Iraq. The building itself is a landmark of modern architecture in the heart of Baghdad. For more information please visit: http://the-station.iq/.

(Source: IBBC)

By John Lee.

The National Investment Commission (NIC) has announced six new investment opportunities in Iraq:

  1. Starch and Dextrin production, General Company for Food Products
  2. Sulphur/Sulfur production, Mishraq Sulphur Company

(Source: National Investment Commission)

(Picture: Business opportunity word cloud, from ibreakstock/Shutterstock)