Some “Saturday News” Posted by Clare at KTFA 4-20-2024

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Clare:  Iraq preparing to amend its budget law

4/20/2024

ERBIL (Kurdistan24) – Khalil Ghazi, A member of the Iraqi parliament’s finance committee, revealed to Kurdistan24 that the budget amendment for 2024 has been finalized by the Council of Ministers and is now awaiting the return of the Iraqi Prime Minister from Washington for final review.

Iraq’s budget deficit has increased by 16 trillion dinars in the past year, bringing the estimated deficit for this year’s budget bill to more than 80 trillion dinars.

The allocation of the budget to provinces in central and southern Iraq, especially those facing high poverty rates and service issues, has caused conflict among factions in parliament. These provinces are dissatisfied with the share of the budget allocated to them.

The Iraqi budget is composed of three main components: revenues, expenditures, and a budget deficit. Revenues include oil exports, taxes, and customs duties, while expenditures cover government spending in various sectors such as education, healthcare, infrastructure, and defense. The budget deficit occurs when expenditures exceed revenues, and it can be financed through borrowing or international aid.   LINK

Clare: Al-Sudani returns to Baghdad after concluding his official visit to America

4/24/2024

Prime Minister Muhammad Shiaa Al-Sudani returned to the capital, Baghdad, after concluding his official visit to the United States of America.

According to a statement issued by the Sudanese Media Office, the visit included a series of meetings, discussions, seminars, dialogue sessions and other activities, as follows:

■ Meeting with US President Mr. Joseph Biden

■ Receiving Secretary of State Anthony Blinken

■ Visiting the Pentagon headquarters and meeting with the Minister of Defense, Mr. Lloyd Austin

■ Receiving the Czech Prime Minister, Mr. Peter Fiala

■ Receiving the US Secretary of Homeland Security, Mr. Alejandro Mayorkas

■ Receiving the Deputy Secretary of the US Treasury, Mr. Wally Adeyemo

■ Sponsoring the signing of 18 memorandums of understanding in energy, economy, oil sector development and the pharmaceutical industry

■ Receiving a number of members of the House of Representatives from the Republican and Democratic parties

■ Receiving the Chairman of the Democratic Caucus in the US House of Representatives, Mr. Seth Molten

■ Receiving US Senator Democratic Senator Tim Kaine

■ Receiving US Senator Lindsey Graham

■ Receiving a number of former US ambassadors who served in Iraq.

■ Receiving the Chairman of the US Wheat Council, Mr. Vince Peterson

■ Receiving a JP Morgan delegation

■ Receiving the President of GE Vernova Energy Technology Company, Mr. Scott Strazik

■ Receiving a delegation from the American company Stellar Energy

■ Receiving a delegation from the American company General Dynamics

■ Receiving a delegation from the American company (Baker Hughes).

■ Receiving a delegation from Lockheed Martin, which is responsible for manufacturing F16 aircraft.

■ Receiving the President of the American company (Hanwell), Mr. Ken West

■ Receiving the President of KBR Sustainable Technology Solutions, Mr. Ji Ibrahim, in Houston

■ A number of major American companies specialized in the field of oil and gas met in the city of Houston in a workshop

■ A meeting with an elite group of Iraqi businessmen in the US state of Michigan

■ Receiving a delegation from the Baker Institute for Energy Studies and Research in Houston

■ A meeting with representatives of research centers specialized in Iraq and the region in Washington

■ Dialogue at the Atlantic Council Foundation in Washington, DC

■ Dialogue seminar at Johns Hopkins University in Washington

■ Meeting with a group of the Iraqi community in Washington, DC

■ A meeting with the Iraqi community in the American city of Houston

■ Meeting a large crowd of the Iraqi community at the Islamic Forum in the American state of Michigan

■ Meeting with a group of the Iraqi community at the Iraqi Chaldean Center in the US state of Michigan

■ An artifact dating back to the Sumerian civilization (2900-3000 years BC) was received from the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

■ Receiving the family of American citizen Kayla Mueller, who was kidnapped by ISIS terrorist gangs in the Syrian city of Aleppo in 2013, and was liquidated in 2015.

■ A meeting with representatives and correspondents of a number of Western media outlets in Washington

■ Interview with CNN

■ Interview with the American newspaper The Washington Post

■ A press interview with Al-Monitor

■ Interview with the Wall Street Journal

■ A television interview with the American PBS channel

■ Visit the Iraqi Embassy in Washington, and meet its employees.  LINK

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Clare:  Al-Sudani announces the conclusion of his visit to the United States and summarizes it with these paragraphs

4/19/2024

Washington

Today, Saturday, Prime Minister Muhammad Shiaa Al-Sudani announced the conclusion of his visit to the United States.

Al-Sudani said, during a conference with journalists attended by a Al-Rabaa correspondent: @I thank the satellite channels that covered all aspects of the visit, including Al-Rabaa.

He added: “We reach the conclusion of our 6-day visit, which expressed the government’s vision, and that the goal of achieving this transition is after we have overcome the concerns of the security phase.”

He continued, “This visit witnessed the first meeting concerned with the implementation of the strategic framework agreements, and there will be periodic meetings.”

He continued: “We stressed that the government is continuing to achieve economic reform by supporting the private sector by signing a number of agreements and contracts.”

He continued: “During our tours and visits, we met with companies specialized in the fields of oil, gas and energy and reviewed investment opportunities,” adding: “We held important meetings with the US Treasury to complete financial and banking reforms and reached satisfactory solutions that address the conditions of the sanctioned banks.”

He stressed that “the impression from the Treasury on the Iraqi institutions was positive, given the record period of time spent in accordance with the recommended systems.”

He pointed out that “the statement issued by the White House emphasized the committee’s dialogue and its outcomes to end the mission of the international coalition after the justifications no longer exist, and the dialogues will continue.”

Al-Sudani said: “Our meetings with the Iraqi community are part of our commitment to governmental responsibility, and they are a real wealth because of their competencies and minds that can serve the country.”

He explained, “The indicators are clear for the success of the visit in terms of the vision that was proven for the goals and agendas of the visit, and that the outcomes of the visit are now entering the follow-up phase, which is very important in order to translate the treaties and agreements we have reached into reality.”   LINK

Clare: The Ministry of Finance specifies steps that must be taken before canceling the currency selling window in Iraq

4/20/2024

The Parliamentary Finance Committee confirmed, on Saturday, that the Central Bank of Iraq had taken a decision to cancel the currency sale window, indicating the necessity of taking steps prior to implementing this decision.

Member of the Parliamentary Finance Committee, Hussein Moanis, told Shafaq News Agency, “There is a decision issued by the Central Bank to cancel the window for buying and selling foreign currency in the year 2024, but it did not specify the exact time to start the decision.”

He explained that “canceling the currency selling window is linked to the reliance of private banks on correspondence with international banks and the method of currency conversion.”

This comes after the Central Bank of Iraq gave up its status as a “correspondent” and granted it to several foreign banks, a step with unclear definitions and results, and some observers have warned against it.

In November 2023, the Governor of the Central Bank of Iraq, Ali Al-Alaq, announced the start of importing dollars into the country through Iraqi bank accounts abroad.

Munis asserts that “this step must be preceded by an increase in the classification of Iraqi banks, and this is what qualifies them to deal with international banks, but the real problem that we face is that Iraqi banks do not have a correspondent and are not accredited outside the country.”

The member of Parliamentary Finance pointed out that “the government and the Central Bank are seeking to strengthen and increase the classification of private banks,” indicating “an intention by the banks to engage in correspondence and external transfers.”   LINK

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Clare:  His financial advisor: Al-Sudani pledged to protect investors and the government is responsible for their actions

4/20/2024  Baghdad –

Mazhar Saleh, Advisor to the Prime Minister for Financial Affairs, announced today, Saturday, that Prime Minister Muhammad Shiaa Al-Sudani’s pledge to provide a positive business climate for investors from the United States is an essential factor in reducing and completely eliminating risk calculations, especially “added costs,” indicating that this pledge It will make the executive authority a direct supervisor of the work of foreign investors.

Saleh said in a statement to the official agency, followed by the 964 Network , that “the launch of the project to protect and maintain the investment environment in our country and improve government services for foreign investors, especially the investor sector from the United States, represents the launch of a package of government directions and its strong pledges that support the stability of foreign investment activity and in a way that serves the interest of development and progress.” And the economic prosperity in our country, without a doubt.”

He added that it is “a signal to provide opportunities for success for the work of investors, which requires providing a smooth and facilitating climate free of inherited bureaucratic obstacles that in the past delayed investment activity in our country and led to adding high and exceptional burdens and costs to the accounts of investment projects that have been called in the literature (the cost of Iraq), which It meant the cost of investment risks outside global measurements.”

He pointed out that “the Prime Minister’s pledge to provide a positive business climate for investors from the United States is an essential governmental factor in reducing risk calculations and eliminating them completely, especially the risks of the cost element added to the investment project itself, financially and temporally, which are aspects that investors were exposed to in the past and add prohibitive burdens and costs.” “.

He continued, “The Prime Minister’s pledge means that the executive authority will become the direct supervisor of the work of American investors in the selected investment fields in our country, and that the government’s protective frameworks that will be devoted to this purpose will become a legal and administrative tradition to protect investment activities, or what may be called: investment security and the protection of foreign investors.”

In our country in general and US investors in particular, this is a realistic and direct expression of the state’s strong will to provide investors with all the facilities required by the foreign investor in accordance with the contracts and obligations signed and legally enforceable when implementing their projects in our country.”   LINK