TNT – “Tidbits From TNT” Tuesday 12-19-2023

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CandyKisses:  Al-Taie: The electoral process went smoothly despite attempts to obstruct it

Information / Baghdad…

Security expert Aqeel Al-Taie confirmed the failure of the attempt to abort the election process through the actions of some, indicating that the flexibility of the security plan contributed to raising the percentages of participants. 

Al-Taie told Al-Maalouma that “the security plan and procedures were flexible and uncomplicated, as well as the absence of any cuts, with the availability of movement, airports and citizens’ wheels.”

He added that “security cordon was present near polling stations, after patrols and tight protections were deployed before the elections for polling stations.”

He pointed out that “some areas of Baghdad witnessed abuses on voters by insulting, slander and obscene speech, as well as there are sound canisters thrown towards them, in addition to monitoring violations of some people promoting in exchange for money for a certain political bloc near some polling stations, but these events did not affect the general security measures and the progress of the process.” Finished 25n

CandyKisses:  Parliamentary Economic: The current world budget surplus will reduce the deficit in next year’s budget

Information / Baghdad.

A member of the Parliamentary Economy and Trade Committee, Yasser Al-Husseini, confirmed on Monday the contribution of the 2023 budget surplus to bridge the deficit in the 2024-2025 budget.

Al-Husseini said in an interview with the Information Agency that “the government until this moment has not funded the 2023 projects, and therefore there will be financial accumulations to fill the deficit in next year’s budget.”

He added that “the deficit in the budget this year, amounting to 64 trillion, will be filled from the surplus from next year,” noting that the amounts and allocations set for projects have not yet been disbursed and therefore there will be a financial surplus that can be used in the coming budgets.

Parliament passed the budget six months ago after a difficult labor due to political controversy that caused disruption to the country’s economic interests.

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Tishwash:  UK, France to Co-Chair Iraq Economic Contact Group (IECG)

France and the United Kingdom are to co-chair the Iraq Economic Contact Group (IECG) from the start of January.

In a statement, the group added that, as friends and partners of Iraq, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the European Union, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the World Bank commit to supporting Iraq in the implementation of a comprehensive and ambitious reform agenda, paving the way to sustainable and inclusive economic development.

Statement of the Iraq Economic Contact Group of the G7, European Union and World Bank

On December 12, the Iraq Economic Contact Group (IECG) held the final meeting of 2023, co-chaired by Italy and the United States.  As friends and partners of Iraq, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the European Union, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the World Bank commit to supporting Iraq in the implementation of a comprehensive and ambitious reform agenda, paving the way to sustainable and inclusive economic development.

The IECG is eager to strengthen its engagement with the Government of Iraq (GOI) through regular dialogue at both the political and technical level.  This engagement is crucial to streamline cooperation between the two sides, identify and support common goals, and support the GOI’s priority reform areas.  The IECG commends Prime Minister Mohammed Shiaa al-Sudani for appointing business and economics experts within his office and looks forward to collaborating with them.

The IECG was encouraged by Prime Minister Sudani’s announcement of new economic reform initiatives throughout 2023 and the passing of a historic three-year budget that laid the foundation for implementation of the government’s reform agenda.  In October, Iraq gained membership to the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) – a move strongly supported by the IECG as the first step to unlocking new sources of investment and enhanced cooperation with other multilateral and bilateral financial facilities.

In the past month, the government convened conferences on Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) and tax reform, including a new bank sector reform project with Rafidain Bank.  Further, the GOI recently announced the establishment of the Iraq Fund for Development (IFD) alongside the Development Road project, and the Prime Minister strengthened economic ties with regional partners.  The GOI’s efforts to expand the use of digital platforms for financial transactions, with electronic payment and other e-commerce mechanisms, represent important steps to minimize the informal economy and reduce opportunities for corruption.

Looking ahead to next year, the IECG welcomes further cooperation in support of Iraq’s economic and financial sector development, including Prime Minister Sudani’s policies to strengthen the dinar and oversee monetary policy.  Clear communication of new dinar policies during the transition period will help avoid adverse effects on Iraqi households and businesses as well as on development cooperation projects and foreign investments in Iraq.

The IECG also stands ready to support Iraq’s next steps to becoming an EBRD Country of Operations, its journey toward World Trade Organization accession, and its potential partnership with the European Investment Bank (EIB).  EIB’s expertise in road, railroad, water and sanitation investments, climate action, environmental sustainability financing as well as urban transmission initiatives will accelerate key infrastructure measures and help facilitate a green transition.

The IECG urges further attention in 2024 to address the deficit and public sector wage bill, measures that would improve fiscal resilience.  Timely budget execution will be critical to the GOI’s ability to sustain important infrastructure investment, particularly in expanding domestic power generation, distribution, and expansion of green energy.  Long-term sustainable economic development is contingent on a dedicated response to pressing climate and environmental challenges.  Sustained investment in water management and infrastructure is critical to counteract the debilitating impacts of climate change.

To accelerate private sector growth, the IECG encourages government action to identify and address the challenges faced by domestic and international business, including efforts to promote transparent and predictable regulations.  In this vein, we welcome further progress on the PPP, Companies, Industrial Investment, Customs, and Arbitration laws as well as timely implementation of the recommendations from the recent PPP and tax reform conferences.

On January 1, Italy and the United States proudly hand over the IECG to incoming co-chairs France and the United Kingdom.  Under their leadership, the IECG will continue to support an ambitious reform agenda, promote sustainable economic development, and stand by Iraq’s side as a reliable friend and partner in 2024. link