KTFA – Friday “Iraq News” Posted by Clare at KTFA 5-31-2024

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Clare:  Heavy security deployment near the Green Zone in Baghdad

5/31/2024

An Iraqi security source reported, on Tuesday, that security forces were deployed heavily in the vicinity of the “Green Zone” in the center of the capital, Baghdad.

The source told “Mawazine News”, “Forces from the Special Division deployed near Al-Khadraa, Al-Jardiya, and Al-Dora, without knowing the reasons.”

He pointed out that “the authorities have closed the gates of the Green Zone to the public, and only those holding badges (special cards for residents or workers in the area) are allowed to enter.”   LINK

Clare: It will be approved in a “special” session.. Parliamentary Finance: There is no intention to return the budget schedules to the government

5/30/2024

The Parliamentary Finance Committee said on Thursday that it or the House of Representatives has no intention of returning the budget schedules for 2024 to the federal government.

Committee member Hussein Moanis explained to Shafaq News Agency, “Last Monday, the Parliamentary Finance Committee hosted the Ministers of Finance and Planning to discuss many topics related to the budget schedules, including answering the questions of the committee members regarding increasing the financial allocation to the ministries and reducing the funds allocated to the governorates.”

He added, “The two ministers answered the questions that were directed to them during their hosting in the committee,” noting that “the increase in financial allocation to the ministries came due to the presence of retained funds for the ministries from last year.”

Mu’nis stressed that “the project funds allocated to the governorates can be disposed of this year.” He pointed out that “the Parliamentary Finance Committee will work to make financial transfers from the ministries to the governorates, in addition to reducing the percentage of the deficit present in the budget tables.”

A member of the Finance Committee confirmed that “there is no intention to return the budget schedules to the government, and that the House of Representatives will discuss the budget law schedules and then they will be approved in a special session.”

The day before yesterday, Tuesday, the coordination framework stressed, during a meeting attended by Prime Minister Muhammad Shiaa Al-Sudani, the necessity of approving the budget schedules to achieve the interests of citizens and support the economic situation.

The 2024 budget, according to what Prime Minister Muhammad Shiaa Al-Sudani announced yesterday, Sunday, amounts to 211 trillion dinars, and employee salaries for the year 2024 amount to 62 trillion dinars, while the 2023 budget amounted to 199 trillion dinars and employee salaries amounted to 59 trillion dinars.

According to Al-Sudani, the revenues of the 2024 budget are estimated at “144 trillion and 336 billion dinars, while expenditures amount to 210 trillion and 936 billion dinars, while the deficit is 63 trillion and 599 billion dinars.”   LINK

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Clare:  Parliamentary Finance confirms the readiness of the budget tables for voting in Monday’s session

5/31/2024

The Parliamentary Finance Committee announced its readiness to present the federal financial budget schedules for the year 2024 in the Parliament session next Monday.

The head of the committee, Atwan Al-Atwani, said in a statement, a copy of which {Al-Furat News} received, “For days, the committee has continued to study and review the 2024 budget schedules, in detail, in order to complete them in the optimal manner, and to ensure the necessary financial allocations for all sectors,” adding, “After a series of meetings Intensive, during which we hosted the relevant ministers, today we are about to complete the task of discussing and reviewing the details of these schedules, in accordance with the Federal General Budget Law for the years (2023-2024).”

Al-Atwani continued, “The Finance Committee confirms its readiness to present its final report to the House of Representatives in next Monday’s session dedicated to approving the budget schedules and its annexes,” reiterating “the great keenness to enable the federal government to implement its service and development plans and programs in a manner consistent with its government program that the House of Representatives voted on.” We also affirm our full support for local governments, by increasing their financial allocations and ensuring the continuity of funding for projects with the aim of improving the reality of services in all governorates.”    LINK

Clare:  Al-Sudani: The path of development will restore Iraq’s historical role in global trade

5/31/2024

Prime Minister, Muhammad Shiaa Al-Sudani, confirmed that the development road project means, according to current market equations and international trade movement, a link between the East and Europe through Iraqi and Turkish lands together.

Al-Sudani, during an interview conducted by Anatolia Agency, said: In the beginning, we must look historically at Iraq’s role in trade between the East and the West over many centuries, and I am not exaggerating if I say that since prehistoric times, Mesopotamia has been an easy trade corridor whose paths trade caravans prefer to follow. And standing and trading with its metropolises, cities and urban centres.”

He stressed that the path of development is essentially to restore this historical role, and the link between the port of Al-Faw and the Turkish border, according to the current market equations and the international trade movement, means a link between the East and Europe through Iraqi and Turkish lands together.”

The Prime Minister of Iraq explained that the region is witnessing conflicts and tensions that recede at times and escalate at other times, and this prompts us to focus efforts on projects that overlap in interests and overlap in benefits.

He added: The Development Road will provide an opportunity for the emergence of industrial cities on both sides of it, which will complement the trade passing through it. Later this year, we will inaugurate the first berths at Al-Faw Port, and the flow of goods through the Development Road route will begin initially.”

He continued, saying: All indicators, economic readings and feasibility studies, say that this corridor is the least expensive and fastest among the rest of the corridors. We do not say that it is an alternative, but rather regional and international trade really needs a path of development, as it is a linking project that promotes overlap in interests and causes of economic sustainability.

Following President Erdogan’s visit to Iraq, Turkish Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Abdulkadir Oraloglu said that with the operation of the development road, the volume of trade with Iraq will increase from $20 billion to $30-40 billion.

Regarding the future volume of bilateral trade between Turkey and Iraq, which is currently estimated at about 20 billion dollars, the Prime Minister of Iraq said: The increase in the volume of bilateral trade with Turkey can be expanded vertically, but we are seeking vertical expansion as well. In short, this is the role of the Development Road Project and the projects attached to it. “.

He added: Experience and history have proven that the progress of a country alone and in isolation from its neighbourhood, is something that carries an unknown future despite all possibilities and conflicts. Therefore, we focus on increasing the capacity of exchange and actual partnership (with Turkey) is the guarantor of stability and deep, long-term relations.
He continued: In our relationship with our Turkish brothers, we also focused on one of the most promising sectors in investment and cooperation, which is the agricultural sector, and soon we will witness practical steps in this aspect, and the participation of Turkish companies.”

Regarding investments in Iraqi gas fields, the Prime Minister of Iraq said, in his interview with Anadolu: “Gas investment is a strategic test for Iraq, and our national wealth must be optimally employed in serving our people and development plans.”
He added: It is not possible to continue burning gas, firstly due to the waste of this wealth that can be benefited from, and secondly due to the environmental effects. We announced a special round of licenses to invest in gas fields.

He continued, saying: We plan for Iraq to be self-sufficient in domestic gas production within 3 years, and Iraq is moving confidently to be an important element in the gas market within 5 years, and we will achieve self-sufficiency in this material at the expense of electricity production.

The Prime Minister of Iraq said: Specialists know that the existence of a technological base for gas investment is at the same time a base for the broadest petrochemical industries, and this is what we seek.”

Regarding potential partnerships in these investments, the Prime Minister of Iraq indicated that the doors are open to every reputable and specialized company that wishes to participate in this sector, and we also welcome regional companies because they will expand the base of cooperation in other areas.

He added: It is important to understand that gas investment means providing additional resources for development in Iraq, which are resources that can be invested in various promising economic rights, and these areas will be open to the participation of Turkish companies and companies of other friendly countries.

Iraq’s current production of natural gas is about 2.7 billion cubic feet, and according to previous estimates, Iraq has a reserve of 132 trillion cubic feet of gas, of which 700 billion cubic feet were burned, as a result of the weak ability to exploit it.

Regarding the flow of Iraqi oil, the Iraqi Prime Minister explained that stopping the pumping of Iraqi oil extracted from the fields of the Kurdistan region of Iraq is undoubtedly a loss for Iraq, and at least it is the loss of an expected benefit that can support development plans in the provinces of the region and strengthen the Iraqi economy as a whole.

He added: He added: We took the initiative to find acceptable settlements and legal solutions and solutions after a thorough legal study, but the matter is surrounded by a legal obligation, because the Federal General Budget Law requires calculating the cost of producing one barrel of oil in all fields to be within the national average of the cost of production, which is around $8 per barrel, according to what was announced. Federal Ministry of Oil.

He continued: But the Ministry of Natural Resources in the Kurdistan Regional Government, and within the contracts signed with the oil company operating there, the cost of production is calculated at around $26 per barrel, and we suggested to Imam that the budget law be amended, or that the agreements and contracts with these companies be amended.”

The Prime Minister of Iraq continued, saying: From this standpoint, companies stopped production, as the ban did not come from the federal government, and we are waiting for a solution to be found. The companies refused to amend the contracts, while the regional government agreed.

He explained that for these reasons, more work is required to find a legal solution that first ensures the rights of Iraq and its people to its wealth.

He added: As for transporting Basra oil through Turkish ports, the matter is subject to study and determining the economic feasibility first of all.

Currently, Iraq’s oil production is approximately 4 million barrels per day, according to data from the Ministry of Oil and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), while it imports about 25 million liters of gas oil, gasoline, and white oil daily, in addition to natural gas.

According to previous statements by Al-Sudani, Iraq intends to be self-sufficient in oil derivatives, stop imports, and save $3.2 billion. LINK