Iraq Economic News and Points to Ponder Tuesday Afternoon 4-23-24


Iraq Economic News and Points to Ponder Tuesday Afternoon 4-23-24

New financial bonds…bank interest thwarts the government’s plans to close the deficit
Monday, 04-22-2024, Karar Al-Assadi 356
The Iraqi government has resorted to issuing financial bonds and selling them to citizens with the aim of filling the financial deficit in the budget and also to enhance the state’s non-oil revenues, which is a slogan raised by Prime Minister Muhammad Shiaa Al-Sudani to his government, and while specialists praise this approach, others identify obstacles that do not encourage the success of this experiment due to the lack of interest.
Banking achieved by “freezing” millions of dinars in exchange for revenues does not constitute a temptation to attract the citizen.
Economic expert Mazhar Muhammad Saleh says, “The bonds currently in circulation (Injaz), which were recently issued by the Ministry of Finance, are one of the medium-term government debt instruments,
which differ from treasury transfers as a debt instrument also in terms of maturity dates and the interest granted or paid, as
treasury transfers are mostly directed.” To the banking system, while
Enjaz bonds are mostly a means of borrowing to the public.”

On April 15, 2023, Rafidain Bank announced the issuance of “Enjaz” bonds to citizens, offering them in two categories, the 
     first in the amount of 500 thousand dinars with an annual interest of 6.5 percent, paid every six months for a period of two years, and the
     second in the amount of one million dinars with an annual interest of 8.5 percent every six months for a period of four years.

 He added,   “These bonds were issued for the purposes of financing part of the planned deficit in the federal general budget for the year 2024, and engaging in direct borrowing from the public of lenders, especially those who have savings or financial surpluses, and
at the same time have the desire to invest their surplus funds in these highly collateralized sovereign bonds, as
they are subject to… (Injaz) bonds for the credit rating of the Republic of Iraq, which is currently set at grade B, similar to nearly 80 countries in the world.”

 He continues,   “We believe that the bonds finance 7 to 10 percent of the planned deficit in the annual general budget, through the contribution of the public of lenders by investing their available financial surpluses by possessing these bonds in return for the government receiving cash amounts that contribute to filling the deficit in public expenditures during the period.” Fiscal year 2024.”

Mazhar points out that   “government bank branches undertake the sale of these bonds to the public and provide the holder of that bond with an electronic document first,
then he is provided with a paper document showing the details of the single bond that he will be in possession of.
The bond is also issued in several denominations, such as the half-million dinar denomination and the one million dinar denomination.” The maturity periods also vary.  

He explains that  “the one million dinar bond earns an annual interest rate of 8.5 percent and is paid every six months, and its maturity is four years, that is, the date of its amortization.

He also notes that the bond sale, which began on April 15, will continue to be offered until May 15 of next year.”

It is noteworthy that  “Enjaz bonds are the highest in interest after the (Emaar) bonds and (Building) bonds that were offered in previous years, in which the interest rate reached 7 percent annually, and the holder of the bond can transfer its possession back to another holder, as government bonds are among the Preferred debts cannot collect interest or at the time of their repayment, so they can be mortgaged as excellent collateral.
Thus, holders of government bonds can liquidate the bond as a financial instrument and convert it into cash immediately by promoting it for sale in the secondary financial market and at any time before its maturity date and recovering the principal amount of cash paid in return. “Possession.”
The Ministry of Finance had previously announced the launch of a new issue of government bonds under the name “Injaz” for public subscription, indicating that
they are government bonds denominated in the Iraqi dinar in the denomination of 500 thousand dinars, for a period of two years with an annual interest of 6.5 percent paid every six months, and a bond of the denomination of one million dinars for the term. Four years with an annual interest rate of 8.5 percent, paid every six months.

For his part, the economic expert and professor of management and economics at the Iraqi University, Abdul Rahman Al-Mashhadani, explains, “
This is a normal measure taken by most governments in the world, and  Iraq is not the first country to do it when it needs financing to fill the deficit or for investment projects, as it sometimes issues these bonds to achieve goals.” Specific, for example, building bridges, dams, or specific services,
but the purpose of these bonds in Iraq is to fill a deficit in the general budget and as a measure to withdraw liquidity from the market.”

 He added,   “These bonds have an issuance period.
For example, the half-million dinar bond has a duration of two years, and the million-dinar bond has an issuance period of four years

After that, the Ministry of Finance is obligated to return the bond amount to the buyer or extend it in the event of strong demand for it, but the interest is paid every six months.” By the Ministry of Finance, and it is certainly possible to sell them through the Iraqi Stock Exchange, just like the shares of companies that are sold in this market.”

Al-Mashhadani explains,   “When we talk about the deficit, we are talking about 80 or 92 trillion dinars, which is the value of the budget deficit, and
this issuance of bonds worth two trillion dinars, or even if it was worth four trillion dinars, it cannot cover the entire budget deficit, so it is an attempt.” To create a kind of culture for individuals to invest in financial instruments such as stocks, bonds, and banks in order to obtain financial interest.”

 He added,   “These policies are not considered to be very successful, and
this issuance can mainly benefit banks, but
the vast majority of citizens do not believe that they will benefit from purchasing these bonds.
For example, the average Iraqi family has the ability for a citizen to buy, for example, 10 million dinars in bonds, which means 10 bonds worth One million dinars, in order to obtain an interest of 8.5 percent, which is not a large percentage and does not constitute a rewarding return for what was invested.”

Al-Mashhadani points out that   “commercial work can achieve a profitable return much greater than government bond returns.
Investing one million dinars in the market, for example, enables an individual to recycle it several times in the market, in contrast, and obtain large profitable returns equal to or greater than the amount invested, as long as There is inflation, and there are high profits from investment returns in commercial markets.”
On June 12, 2023, the Iraqi Parliament voted on the federal budget law for the years 2023, 2024, and 2025, in an initiative that is the first of its kind in the country’s history in terms of the size of the budget as well as the number of fiscal years, with a value of 197 trillion and 828 billion dinars, with a financial deficit of 63 trillion. One dinar, which is approximately one-third of the budget.
In turn, the economic expert, Hammam Al-Shamaa, agrees with Al-Mashhadani, that
“the goal of announcing the sale of government bonds to citizens and institutions is to fill the deficit on the one hand and provide financial liquidity on the other hand, since the
total monthly spending at the present time exceeds eight trillion dinars, among the Central Bank’s sales.”
The currency selling window does not exceed five trillion dinars per month.”

 He continues,   “Therefore, they need liquidity to cover expenses, and this liquidity is expensive, and
the deficit is very large, reaching 35 percent of the gross domestic product, and
it is a cost that falls on the shoulders of future generations.
Government spending is now taking place at the expense of the future, and  this year itself must be recorded. It is an inaccurate financial policy with dimensions.” “More political than economic dimensions.”
It is noteworthy that the Ministry of Finance recently issued government bonds to contribute to society’s contribution to the development of the Iraqi economy, as the
subscription funds contribute to financing economic development projects and achieving financial stability in the country.

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Provoking Points To Ponder on Failures and Mistakes

What is defeat? Nothing but education, nothing but the first step to something better.- Wendell Phillips

From their errors and mistakes the wise and good learn wisdom for the future.- Plutarch

Having harvested all the knowledge and wisdom we can from our mistakes and failures, we should put them behind us and go ahead.- Edith Johnson

I think success has no rules, but you can learn a great deal from failure.- Jean Kerr

Failure is just another way to learn how to do something right.- Marian Wright Edelman

There are no mistakes, no coincidences. All events are blessings given to us to learn from.- Elisabeth Kubler-Ross