United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres today announced the appointment of Irena Vojáčková-Sollorano of Germany as his new Deputy Special Representative for Iraq, in the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and Resident Coordinator. Ms. Vojáčková-Sollorano will also serve as Humanitarian Coordinator.

Ms. Vojáčková-Sollorano succeeds Marta Ruedas of Spain, who retired from the United Nations in May. The Secretary-General is grateful for Ms. Ruedas’ long and dedicated service to the Organization.

Ms. Vojáčková-Sollorano brings to this position more than three decades of global expertise in migration and refugee issues, coordinating United Nations development and humanitarian responses, including as United Nations Resident Coordinator in Turkey (2016-2019) and Serbia (2013-2016). Since August 2019, Ms. Vojáčková-Sollorano has served as United Nations Regional Director a.i. of the Development Coordination Office for Europe and Central Asia in Istanbul.

From 2010-2013, Ms. Vojáčková-Sollorano was the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Director for Migration Management in Geneva, and served as IOM Deputy Chief of Staff in 2009. Prior to that, she served in senior IOM roles in Bangkok, Vienna, Geneva and Manila.

Ms. Vojáčková-Sollorano holds a Diploma in International Economic Relations from the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna, a Master’s Degree in History, Geography and International Law from the University of Vienna, and a Bachelor’s degree in History, Sociology, Geography and Political Science from the University of Heidelberg in Germany. Ms. Vojáčková-Sollorano is proficient in English, German and Czech.

(Source: UN)

By John Lee.

The Iraqi parliament has reportedly authorised borrowing of up to $5 billion (Dh18bn) from abroad after the fall in oil prices caused a financial crunch.

According to The National, the vote came a few days rating agency Fitch forecast the economy to shrink 9 per cent this year and debt to skyrocket.

More here.

(Source: The National)

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.

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)

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani on Wednesday chaired a cabinet meeting via video conference to discuss expenses and the need to adapt to the current budget while protecting public entitlements.

In the meeting attended by Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani, the Council of Ministers stressed continued commitment to reducing salaries of senior officials, including those retired with high pay brackets. These meetings will continue until next Sunday.

During the meeting, the Cabinet extended the deadline to pay public water and electricity bills with 15% discount until September 1, 2020.

The Council of Ministers also debated the ongoing disputes with the federal government and agreed that a delegation will return to Baghdad next week as part of continued efforts to reach an agreement within the framework of the Iraqi constitution.

(Source: KRG)

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani chaired a video conference meeting on Tuesday on notarisation of lands and residential housing projects.

In the meeting attended by Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani and other cabinet ministers, Prime Minister Barzani spoke about separating land plots allocated for projects in a bid to resolve the issue of lands granted to people by municipalities, and the issue of residential apartments which will be notarised under the names of owners.

The meeting also discussed the subject of reorganising income from companies providing services at cities and villages in a way these services are affordable by people. They also stressed the importance of speeding up the procedures of compensating those whose lands fall within the map of cities.

They also reviewed the implementation of laws and instructions relating to ownership of residential lands which have been trespassed in light of the parliament law no. 3 of 2019, which concerns the notarisation of lands that are trespassed in a way that favours low-income people and prevents trespassing of public properties.

Cabinet ministers explained their perspectives on these issues and their suggestions were approved following an exchange of views on these questions.

(Source: KRG)

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 facing its worst economic crisis since 2003, worsened by the global drop in oil prices and the coronavirus pandemic.

Mustafa al-Kadhimi’s government led by has proposed austerity measures, including capping the amount and number of state salaries and pensions people can receive.

Many people rely on pensions and reparations from the government.

Al Jazeera‘s Simona Foltyn reports from Baghdad, Iraq: