Iraqi News Highlights and Points to Ponder Sunday AM 3-3-24


Iraqi News Highlights and Points to Ponder Sunday AM 3-3-24

To Achieve Economic Stability, The International Monetary Fund Directs 4 Requests To The Iraqi Government

Arab and international  Economy News – Baghdad  The International Monetary Fund called on the Iraqi government to adjust public finances, increase the public sector wage bill, expand the tax base, and increase non-oil revenues to achieve economic stability.

This came in a statement issued by the Fund, on Sunday, at the conclusion of Article Four consultations with Iraqi financial and economic officials, which took place in the Jordanian capital, Amman, during the period between 20-29 last February.

The fund said: “To overcome oil price fluctuations, Iraq must achieve high economic growth to accommodate the growing workforce, enhance non-oil exports, expand the tax base and adjust the wage bill.”

He considered that the government must “strive to enable the private sector to develop and grow, carry out labor market reforms, modernize the financial sector, restructure state-owned banks, reform the retirement and electricity sectors, and reduce corruption.”

Iraq is the second largest producer of crude oil in OPEC after Saudi Arabia, with an average daily production of 4.6 million barrels per day under normal conditions, and relies on crude export revenues to provide 90 percent of the state’s financial income.

The Fund added: “Growth in the non-oil sector returned strongly during 2023… Growth in real non-oil GDP is estimated at 6 percent, and overall inflation declined from the high level of 7.5 percent in January 2023, to 4 percent by the end of the same year.” “.

He continued: “The decline in inflation is due to the decline in food and energy prices at the international level, and the impact caused by the revaluation of the price of the Iraqi currency in February 2023.”

He estimated that the improvement in oil prices in 2022 and the first months of 2023 contributed to the rise in international reserves to 112 billion dollars, from an average of 88 billion at the end of 2021. He said: “If regional tensions escalate, an interruption in shipping routes or damage to “This may lead to losses in Iraqi oil production.”

Article Four of the Agreement Establishing the International Monetary Fund stipulates that bilateral discussions with member countries usually take place on an annual basis. A team of Fund experts visits the member country, collects the necessary economic and financial information, and holds discussions with official officials about economic developments and policies in that country…

03/03/2024 –

With A Dollar Bill… Deputy: The US Treasury Is Putting Pressure On Iraq

Information / Baghdad..  Today, Sunday, the representative of the Fatah Alliance, Ola Al-Nashi, accused the US Treasury Department of obstructing the Iraqi government’s reforms in light of waving the economic card through the dollar file.

Follow the “Al-Ma’louma” channel on Telegram.. News that does not require documentation..

Al-Nashi told Al-Maalouma, “The economics file is more important than politics and what is happening in it, and it is the aspect that is focused on to thwart any government if it achieves successes and is able to get closer to the people.”

He added, “The government is required to take strong decisions against them in order to control the dollar crisis, noting that the American administration changed its sights towards the economic card after its failure in the soft war against Iraq.”

Al-Nashi pointed out that “the rise in the dollar exchange rates in local markets is a political file to put pressure on Muhammad Shiaa Al-Sudani.”

The dollar exchange rates are witnessing a significant increase in the Iraqi markets, as the price of one dollar has reached more than 152 dinars, amid fears that this rise will continue. LINK

Parliamentary Bloc: America Prevents Iraq From Joining The Chinese Agreement

Economy  Information / Baghdad..    The head of the Al-Sadiqoun parliamentary bloc, Habib Al-Halawi, confirmed today, Sunday, that America is pushing to prevent Iraq from joining the Belt and Road Initiative.

Al-Halawi said in an interview with the Maalouma Agency, “The United States of America is pushing to prevent and obstruct Iraq’s association with the Silk Road Economic Project, adding that Iraq’s association with the Chinese initiative represents a strategic opportunity to activate Iraq’s role within the Belt and Road Initiative.”

He pointed out that “America stands as an obstacle to the growth of the Iraqi economy and does not allow Chinese companies to invest in Iraq, stressing that there is a desire among the Iraqis to consolidate bilateral relations with China.” LINK

Foreign Minister: Iraq May Adjust Its Financial Budget For This Matter

Economy News – Baghdad  The Iraqi Foreign Minister said that his country may amend its federal budget to pay recovery and transit fees to international oil companies, in an attempt to restart an important oil pipeline a year after it was stopped.

Fouad Hussein told Bloomberg News, “Talks are ongoing between oil companies, the Iraqi government in Baghdad, and the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government to resume crude oil exports through Turkey. The pipeline closure has blocked about half a million barrels of crude oil from global markets.”

Turkey stopped flows through the pipeline – which transports oil from the Kurdish region in Iraq to the Turkish port of Ceyhan – in March 2023 after an arbitration court ordered it to pay about $1.5 billion in compensation to Iraq for transporting oil without Baghdad’s approval.

Long-standing dispute

The arbitration decision was the culmination of a long-standing dispute between Baghdad and the Iraqi Kurdistan region over the rights to collect revenues from oil sales.

Iraq is trying to resolve the dispute to strengthen relations with Turkey on issues ranging from trade to security ahead of the expected visit of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Baghdad on April 22. The main discussion centers on transportation and recovery fees, which the Iraqi minister says have a real cost of approximately $21 per barrel, compared to $6 in the budget.

Hussein said, on the sidelines of a diplomatic forum in the Turkish city of Antalya, “The best way is to make an adjustment in the budget, from $6 to what it is on the ground.” He added: “If we agree to amend the budget law, let us say that this will open the way for oil exports.”

Iraq was exporting about 400,000 to 500,000 barrels per day from the northern fields, including the Kurdish region, through the currently suspended pipeline. The pipeline closure cost Iraq more than $7 billion in lost revenue over the past year, which Hussein described as a “huge loss.”

Hussein refused to give an estimate of how long it would take to make the required amendment, which requires the support of Iraqi political parties, as well as the election of a new speaker of parliament. But he said that Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government had reached an understanding regarding the resumption of exports, and that the Turkish side had no objections.

Security cooperation between Baghdad and Ankara

The interview also stated:

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan is expected to visit Baghdad this month to hold a second round of talks on security cooperation to prevent separatists from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party from using northern Iraq as a launching point to launch attacks on Turkey, as well as on Turkish forces inside Iraq.

Iraq and Turkey are seeking to persuade the Gulf states to help finance a trade route worth $17 billion extending from the port of Al-Faw in the Iraqi province of Basra to Turkey, and then to Europe. “We cannot finance it ourselves,” Hussein said. “The current situation in the Red Sea and Bab al-Mandab also proves that we need different ways to reach Europe.”

Red Sea tensions revive the trade line linking Egypt, Jordan and Iraq.

He added: “Internal security in Iraq is very good in general, but the entire security in the region is threatened by the war in Gaza,” referring to attacks in the Red Sea, as well as US air strikes in Iraq.

In response to a question about whether the recent visit of an Iranian delegation to Iraq had led to a clear cessation of militant attacks on American forces, Hussein said: “This is apparently the case.”

Regarding Iraq’s previous request for the withdrawal of the remaining American military trainers and advisors, Hussein said that an Iraqi military committee held discussions with American officials more than a week ago and “will submit a report to the prime minister and political leaders. On the basis of its report, we will develop another plan.”  03/03/2024 –  

Provoking Points to Ponder on Decisions 

Once the “what” is decided, the “how” always follows. We must not make the “how” an excuse for not facing and accepting the “what.”  – Pearl S. Buck

In each action we must look beyond the action at our past, present and future state, and at others whom it affects, and see the relation of all those things. And then we shall be very cautious. – Blaise Pascal

One’s mind has a way of making itself up in the background, and it suddenly becomes clear what one means to do.  – Arthur Christopher Benson

Not all of your decisions will be correct. None of us is perfect. But if you get into the habit of making decisions, experience will develop your judgment to a point where more and more of your decisions will be right. After all, it is better to be right 51 percent of the time and get something done, than it is to get nothing done because you fear to reach a decision.  – H. W. Andrews

Decide on what you think is right, and stick to it.  – George Eliot