TNT – “Tidbits From TNT” Sunday 11-26-2023


Tishwash:  Al-Sudani: It is time for the current plans to focus on economic diversification

Prime Minister Muhammad Shiaa Al-Sudani sponsored the first conference of the five-year national development plan, which was held this Sunday morning by the Ministry of Planning in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme, and its work will continue for the period from 26-28 this November.

In a speech he delivered during the conference, Al-Sudani stressed the government’s interest in strategic plans and projects that are consistent with the 2030 Sustainable Development Vision, calling on everyone to actively contribute to building a five-year national development plan that suits Iraq’s need for real development built on sound foundations.

The Prime Minister praised the Ministry of Planning, in preparing this important document, and the efforts of the experts supporting the Ministry. He also praised the efforts of the United Nations Development Program and the United States Agency for Development, for their support of the efforts of the Iraqi government.

The following are the highlights of the Prime Minister’s speech during the conference:

The scale of the challenges requires integrated plans aimed at achieving comprehensive renaissance in the medium and long term.

Iraq has witnessed a development interruption since the 1980s. Because of wars, sieges, and counter-terrorism operations. 

Our government worked to put development back on track and launch its development plans.

The government increased the pace of implementation of existing projects, which number more than 7,000 projects, and implemented new projects that represent a high development and service value.

The government has paid attention to strategic projects that are consistent with the 2030 Sustainable Development Vision, including infrastructure projects, clean energy, the development road, Al-Faw port, and others.

The best conditions to achieve the goals of the five-year plan must be provided by the agencies concerned with its implementation, including the governorates.

– At the beginning of its work, our government supported the governorates, through the Supreme Commission for Coordination between the Governorates, which succeeded in changing many paths, and its results appeared within one year of the government’s life.

The new governorate councils will represent a qualitative addition to the work, so we were keen to create the conditions for the success of the elections, so that each governorate would have representatives, whose work would complement the governor’s.

It is time for the new development plan to have economic dimensions based on the philosophy of economic diversification.

The government has laid the foundations for economic diversification, including the establishment of the Iraqi Fund for Development, which aims to create an integrated investment environment in the country.

Initiatives have been launched that aim to change the pattern of the rentier economy, such as the “Riyada” initiative, which helps young people invest their ideas in productive sectors.

The tripartite budget included a special provision to support the private sector by granting it sovereign guarantees, which will contribute to encouraging the business and investment environment in the country.

We are working hard to support the private sector and complete the formation of its development council, as it represents the primary partner of the government sector.

– If we succeed in achieving economic diversification, providing a fertile investment environment, and strongly introducing the private sector into the development scene, the reality of the situation will change.

We are continuing to build a network of economic relations between Iraq and the countries of the world, built on the foundations of mutual interests.

The government worked to reform the banking and financial sector, by automating all economic and service activities.

– We have begun to automate work at border crossings, and established the shift towards the use of electronic payment in all market and commercial transactions.

The five-year development plan must adopt digital transformation, by adopting electronic systems in all aspects of life.

We need sound development data and indicators in order to make development plans successful, and this requires conducting an accurate and comprehensive census of the population, their places of residence, and their work environments.

We decided to conduct the population census next year, 2024, and directed that all financial and logistical requirements be provided to make it successful.

-The five-year development plan should create space to achieve good governance, establish appropriate mechanisms to fight corruption, and dry up its sources wherever they are.

The existence of a five-year, verifiable development plan indicates a state of security, political, social and economic stability.

The results of development plans must reflect positively on vulnerable segments of society, by providing housing, education, and health, improving income levels, and reducing the effects of climate change.

– During its first year, the government worked to reduce poverty and unemployment rates, through the social protection network, improving the food basket, paying attention to health and education projects, services and infrastructure, working to not inherit poverty among poor families, and establishing a fund to support the poorest areas.   link


Tishwash:  Saudi Arabia is accelerating the steps to establish the first free economic zone with Iraq

Saudi Minister of Investment Khaled Al-Fateh said on Sunday that his country is accelerating the steps to inaugurate the first free economic zone with Iraq, in the border region of Arar.

Al-Falih said that the Saudi Economic Cities Authority is studying establishing a link between the border areas and free zones with neighboring countries, expressing his hope that the border area with Iraq in Arar will be the first free economic zone with a neighboring country without taxes, fees or entry visas to serve investors in the two countries.

The statements of the Saudi Minister of Investment came during one of the sessions of the Northern Border Investment Forum held in the Saudi city of Arar, in which he indicated the availability of about 100 new investment opportunities, worth 20 billion riyals, in addition to the existing opportunities, which are valued at 80 billion riyals.

He stated that the new Arar land port in the northern border region is one of the gateways to the trade movement between Saudi Arabia and Iraq during the past two years, as the volume of land trade exchange during the first half of the current year amounted to about 913.1 million riyals, indicating at the same time that the volume of trade exchange between Saudi Arabia and Iraq In 2021, it amounted to about 3.5 billion riyals.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Northern Border Region said in a study it conducted that the trade movement between the Kingdom and Iraq grew from 294 million riyals in January to 381 million riyals in March, and Saudi Arabia’s imports from Iraq declined during the same period from 11.5 million riyals to 8.6 million riyals. Millions of riyals. 

The goods that Saudi Arabia exports to Iraq include aluminum and its products, electrical appliances and equipment and their parts, preparations based on grains or flour, dairy and eggs, edible animal products, and mineral products. While goods were imported from Iraq, namely aluminum and its products, gum and vegetable juices, sugar and its sugar products, and copper and its products.

The Saudi northern border region includes 25% of the Kingdom’s mining wealth, with a total value of 1.2 trillion riyals, according to the Deputy Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources for Mining Affairs, Khaled Al-Mudaifer.

The Saudi northern border region also contains about 7% of the global phosphate reserve, and the volume of investment in it amounts to about 85 billion riyals in two stages.

The northern region is considered an international corridor for trade and transport movement through 3 axes: the first through Iraq and then the countries of East Asia, the second through Jordan and Syria, then Turkey and the continent of Europe, and the third to the Arab Gulf countries.

On the 22nd of this month, the Iraqi Ministry of Industry and Minerals announced its initial approval to establish a joint economic zone with Saudi Arabia on the border between the two countries.  link


Tishwash:  Al-Nusairi: The battle with black dollar speculators is in its final round

 Samir Al-Nusairi, advisor to the Iraqi Private Banks Association, confirmed in an interview with Al-Iqtisad News Agency that the measures of the government and the Central Bank and the efforts made since the beginning of 2023 have yielded results and will give the desired results according to what was planned, as speculators who deal in the black dollar on the black market have been besieged and the battle is with them.

In its last tour, this was explained in detail by the Governor of the Central Bank in his recent speech to the Iraqi News Agency, in which he referred to the administrative, technical and negotiating procedures and steps with the US Federal Reserve Bank and the US Treasury Department and the understandings to regulate trade financing by approving the opening of accounts for Iraqi banks in American and Chinese correspondent banks.

And Emirati and Turkish to deal directly with them for external transfers in the currencies of these countries, which are the dollar, the euro, the Chinese yuan, the Indian rupee, and the Emirati dirham, and to leave the electronic platform in 2024 and supply the dollar and foreign currencies into Iraq from the accounts of Iraqi banks in correspondent banks or abroad, as well as achieving the opening of up to 40 accounts for our banks. In correspondent banks.

Al-Nusairi explained that the Central Bank’s next strategy to reform the banking sector will depend on reclassifying banks and increasing their capital to the ceiling set by the Central Bank in accordance with the specified time frames until the end of 2024, which will lead to raising the capabilities of our banks to provide the best banking products and services to customers and to the economy, investment and development and the transition to comprehensive digital transformation. .

 Al-Nusairi pointed out that government support and the government agencies concerned with stimulating and activating the real sector and revolutionizing the productive economic sectors will constitute support and support for the plans and procedures of the Central Bank and continuous coordination with monetary policy applications.

 Al-Nusairi concluded his speech by saying that the methodology for advancing and reforming the Iraqi economy and achieving economic growth and stability requires exceptional efforts, programs, mechanisms and government procedures in partnership with the private sector and competent national competencies to change towards the desired economic advancement. With an emphasis on supporting, developing and classifying the banking sector as the first basic link in the economy.   link