Bondlady’s Corner – Iraq Economic News and Points to Ponder Tuesday Evening 3-26-24

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Iraq Economic News and Points to Ponder Tuesday Evening 3-26-24

Tlm724 Administrator Bondlady’s Corner

“Al-Eqtisad News” Publishes The Decisions Of Today’s Cabinet Session

Economy News – Baghdad  In its session held on Tuesday, the Council of Ministers issued several decisions regarding working hours, opening roads, gasoline prices, and other files.

A statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Media Office, received by Al-Iqtisad News, said: “The Council of Ministers held its thirteenth regular session headed by Prime Minister Muhammad Shiaa Al-Sudani, during which the general conditions in the country were discussed, the most important service and economic files were reviewed, and the topics listed on the list were discussed.” agenda and take the necessary decisions thereon.”

According to the statement, the Council of Ministers approved the Eid al-Fitr holiday, starting from Tuesday, April 9, 2024, until Saturday, April 13, 2024, provided that official working hours in all government institutions will resume on Sunday, April 14, 2024.

The Council also voted, according to the statement, to consider March 31 and April 1, 2024, as an official holiday for members of the Christian community. On the occasion of their celebrations of Resurrection.

As part of the government’s steps to address traffic congestion and regulate the working hours of state departments, the Council of Ministers approved, according to the statement, the recommendations of the consultative meeting held on March 16, 2024, concerned with addressing traffic congestion, as follows:

1. Approving the start and end times of official working hours at the headquarters of ministries, the headquarters of their formations, and entities not affiliated with a ministry.

In the capital, Baghdad, for a period of (three months), as an experiment after the blessed Eid al-Fitr holiday, provided that it will be re-evaluated after the end of the aforementioned period by the committee formed according to the letter of the General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers dated January 23, 2023, according to the following details:

a. The official working hours begin for government departments in the Green Zone and the ministries of (Foreign Affairs, Planning, Agriculture, Water Resources, Environment, Migration and Displacement, Communications, Youth and Sports, Culture, Industry and Minerals), (Central Bank of Iraq, Federal Financial Supervision Bureau, Baghdad Municipality, and Aviation Authority). Civil), at seven in the morning and ends at two in the afternoon.

B. The official working hours for the three presidencies and the ministries (Interior, Defense, Health, Finance, Electricity, Justice, Labor and Social Affairs), the Ministry of Education and all associated schools and institutes, begin at eight in the morning, or according to the duties assigned to them by service and security departments and institutions, and end at Three in the afternoon.

C. The official working hours for the ministries of (Higher Education and Scientific Research, Transport, Trade, Construction, Housing, Municipalities, Public Works, and Oil) and (the Shiite and Sunni Endowment Offices, the Martyrs and Political Prisoners Institutions, the Aliyaj Authority for Hajj and Umrah, and the State Council, with the rest of the other bodies not mentioned) begin at Nine in the morning, and ends at four in the afternoon.

D. The official working hours for all public and private universities and colleges begin at ten in the morning, taking into account the adjustment of the weekly holidays for colleges and departments to achieve variation in working hours during the days of the week.

2. Obligating the ministries and agencies not affiliated with a ministry to activate the mass transportation system with no less than (30%) of their employees via buses located in the ministries and agencies not affiliated with a ministry, or through direct coordination with the Ministry of Transport/the General Company for Transporting Passengers and Delegations, and stimulating Employees are encouraged to participate in mass transportation by giving them a grace period to extend the morning footprint half an hour after the start of official work and the evening fingerprint half an hour before the end of official work.

3. Establishing pedestrian bridges for citizens to cross near colleges and hospitals, and ensuring that a fence is placed to prevent crossing except through the bridges.

4.Removing and removing illegal traffickers and street vendors on the sidewalks and streets, especially in the areas of Shorja, New Baghdad, and some crowded markets.

5. Studying the increase in vehicle registration fees in accordance with Council of Ministers Resolution (68 of 2016), amended by Council of Ministers Resolution (237 of 2016), and studying increasing customs duties for importing cars, on the condition that the Kurdistan Region of Iraq adheres to this increase.

6. Opening closed roads in some areas of Baghdad, including:

a. Al-Kargouliya (Al-Saddah) Road towards Al-Amin area.

B. Return the transfer gate near Al-Shaab Stadium.

7. Increase the price of improved gasoline to (850) dinars per liter, and premium gasoline to (1,250 dinars) per liter, as of May 1, 2024.

The statement added that in the field of developing electrical interconnection with neighboring countries, and based on the Federal General Budget Law (No. 13 of 2023), and the instructions for implementing the Budget Law for the fiscal years (2023, 2024, 2025), the Council of Ministers approved the recommendations of the Sovereign Guarantees Committee held on March 9. 2024 and the recommendation of the Ministerial Council for Energy (24022) for the year 2024 regarding the electrical interconnection between the government of the Republic of Iraq and the Electrical Interconnection Authority of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, according to the following:

1. Issuing a payment guarantee in the amount of ($311,744,668), including the calculated interest.

2. The period is seven years, starting from the year 2025, for the benefit of the Gulf Interconnection Authority, according to what was stated in Cabinet Resolution (145 of 2022).

3. The expected cost of purchasing energy from the Iraqi-Gulf line will be on the basis of (Take and Pay).

4. Exempting the Gulf Interconnection Authority from the fees for issuing the guarantee stipulated in the Federal Financial Administration Law, according to their request, as they are a government entity and not investors, and because they do not realize profits from the project.

In the electricity sector, the statement continued that, in order to follow up on the establishment of electrical stations, the Council of Ministers agreed to authorize the Minister of Electricity to sign a letter of intent between the Ministry of Electricity and the international company (GE Vernova) to implement the projects included in the ministry’s plan.

The Council approved the recommendation of the Ministerial Council for Energy (24023 i) for the year 2024 regarding the implementation of technical and legal requirements. According to the following:

1. Commitment of the departments owning the lands allocated and specified for the establishment of secondary stations, which are (Baghdad Municipality, the Ministry of Finance/State Real Estate Department, the Ministry of Construction, Housing, Municipalities and Public Works, the Baghdad Governorate, Al-Nahrain University, the Ministry of Agriculture/Agricultural Lands Department, and the Directorate of Municipalities of the Three Governorates for the Central Region)

 Wasit, Diyala and Anbar; implementing the decisions of the Council of Ministers (393 of 2019 and 169 of 2022) and the directives of the Prime Minister regarding the subject under discussion, and accelerating the facilitation of the allocation procedures and approvals and handing over to the Ministry of Electricity those lands according to the allocation position schedule for the aforementioned stations, which number (64).

Signed, regarding accelerating the facilitation of allocation procedures and approvals and handing over these lands to the Ministry of Electricity within (3 three months) working from the date of the response to the content of the aforementioned letter from the Ministry of Electricity, so that the Ministry of Electricity can begin referral procedures to international companies specialized in the field of energy and inclusion within international loans and initiate implementation. .

2. Forming a committee from the relevant departments (Baghdad Municipality – Designs Department, Baghdad Antiquities and Heritage Inspectorate, Central Region Governorates – Wasit, Diyala and Anbar, Roads and Bridges Directorate, Highway Traffic Directorate, Ministry of Oil – Oil Pipeline Company, Urban Planning Directorate in Baghdad and the concerned governorates

And the Directorates of Agriculture in Baghdad and the governorates of the Central Region and the Directorate of Water Resources, and the approval of the municipal departments regarding conflicts in the routes of the aforementioned lines and cables and their location in relation to the borders of the municipality in question, and the Ministry of Defense, and the Directorate of Communications for Baghdad and the aforementioned governorates),

 headed by whomever the Council deems appropriate to secure the necessary approvals to implement the routes of the lines and cables.

Concerning the transmission of electrical energy (132 and 400) kV, to complete the projects within the specified times, and obligating the Ministry of Electricity to install the routes electronically.

Also in the energy sector, and to follow up on investment projects in it, the Council of Ministers approved the recommendation of the Ministerial Council for Energy (24020 i) for the year 2024 according to the following:

Approval of amending Cabinet Resolution (312 of 2021) regarding the approval of the Ministerial Council for Energy’s Recommendation (100 of 2021) regarding the renewable energy report to become:

1. Reviewing the investment opportunity granted within Cabinet Resolution (312 of 2021), and it was not initiated and not implemented for any reasons (contractual or other).

2. Review the energy transferred to other companies.

3. Authorizing the Ministry of Electricity to evaluate and reconsider the investment opportunities previously granted, pursuant to Council of Ministers Resolution (312 of 2021) and those not referred, described in paragraph (1) mentioned above.

4. Opening the field of investment in solar energy to Iraqi and other international companies, taking into account the rapid development and changing global prices in the field of renewable energies; To take advantage of time, reduce the complexity of contracting procedures with investment companies, and speed up the introduction of energy into the national system. To fill the deficit, especially in the summer months.

According to the statement, the Council approved the exception of the companies winning the contracts for the Al-Khader and Al-Daraji water project from the period requirement (15) days, stated in the circular of the General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers, dated October 2023, provided that the foreign company is obligated to open a branch in Iraq within 3 months from the date of signing.

 The contract includes procedures in the event of failure to register for a reason related to the company, and the procedures and effect must be agreed upon with the German Development Bank.

In this regard, the Council also approved issuing a directive to the Ministry of Commerce to direct Iraqi attachés abroad to inform companies wishing to work in Iraq to open branches, and to direct the Companies Registrar Department to facilitate the procedures.

The statement continued that, in the field of optimal investment of oil wealth and associated gas, the Council of Ministers agreed to authorize the Ministry of Oil to sign a memorandum of strategic cooperation with the American company (Honeywell), to invest gas and reduce flaring to a minimum, and to benefit from engineering expertise in the field of developing refineries, gas exploitation and petrochemicals.

Optimally, in the field of training and development of engineering and technical personnel, taking into account that the implementation of the memorandum does not entail any financial or legal obligations for the Ministry of Oil.

The Council followed up on service projects, as the Council of Ministers approved, according to the statement, the recommendation of the Ministerial Council for the Economy (24098 BC), which included approval to extend the duration of signing the contract for the project (Al-Wahda District sewers) for a month.

It also approved the recommendation of the Ministerial Council for the Economy (24116 Q) as follows:

Approval to grant Mega Projects Consultant Company (KBR) an operating advance (request for the first task order for preparations (logistics – technical – consultants)) and to hire a core team for the work, and to pay an initial completion rate to start work of (10%), amounting to ($2,223,626).

 As an exception to the instructions to facilitate the implementation of the Federal General Budget Law for the fiscal years (2023 – 2024 – 2025) No. 13 of 2023, according to what was stated in the letter of the Ministry of Planning, dated March 14, 2024, provided that the Mega Projects Consultant Company (KBR) submits a letter A guarantee for the amount, in addition to a performance guarantee letter worth (5%) of the contract that will be provided by the aforementioned company.

The Council of Ministers agreed to:

1. Increase the total cost of the project (constructing the College of Physical Education swimming pool) to become (8,757,987,250 dinars)

2. The Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research and the University of Basra bear responsibility for the delay in resolving lagging projects, the validity and accuracy of all data and prices that were provided to the Ministry of Planning, and ensuring accuracy and checking requests and priorities before submitting them to the Ministry of Planning and avoiding many amendments.

As part of following up on oil projects, the Council of Ministers approved the Ministry of Oil’s request to increase the total cost of the project (delivering fuel to industrial and electrical projects to the pipeline company) to become (1,484,685,731,853 dinars).

The Council of Ministers followed up on the implementation of infrastructure for water projects in Diyala Governorate, and decided the following:

1. Reporting the violation to the General Directorate of Water; Because it implemented previous replacement orders (2, 3, 4, 6) before approaching the Ministry of Planning and obtaining the proper approvals to change the method of implementing the contract, from a turnkey contract to a contractor contract.

2. Changing the contract implementation method from a turnkey contract to a contract (schedules and quantities) according to the following:

A. Increasing the total cost of the (Salam Water, Al-Sarajiq and Al-Mansouriya/Diyala Water) project to become (108,013,603,945 dinars).

C. The Ministry of Construction, Housing, Municipalities and Public Works bears full responsibility for the truth and accuracy of the information submitted to the Ministry of Planning. The committees for preparing spare orders and moderating prices also bear the quantities, paragraphs, prices and specifications contained therein.

3. The Ministry of Construction, Housing, Municipalities and Public Works will carry out in-depth administrative procedures and investigations into all observations of the Federal Financial Supervision Bureau and refer the negligent party to justice.

The Council considered a number of issues on the agenda, according to the statement, and took the following decisions regarding them:

First: Approval of what was stated in the letter of the Ministry of Planning on March 24, 2024 regarding contracts for the general census of population and housing, provided that the Ministry bears responsibility for the integrity of the procedures.

Second: Approval of appointing individuals on the list provided and linked to the position of Director General, based on the provisions of the Civil Service Law (24 of 1960).

Third: Approval of what was stated in the letter of the Ministry of Health on March 25, 2024, regarding the establishment of hospitals with a capacity of 100 beds in Baghdad and the governorates, which included sending direct invitations to (3) specialized consulting offices, as an exception to the instructions for implementing government contracts.

The Council also approved the approval of what The Ministry of Health issued a letter dated March 24, 2024 regarding the hospital management and operation program, excluding the Ministry from the periods specified for the companies contracting with it to provide final insurance, for a period of one month.

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