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  • BatmaninIraq's Avatar
    Today, 01:50 AM
    The central bank announces that it will begin to boost bank balances abroad through the foreign currency sale window | readings: 97 Baghdad / Nina / The Central Bank of Iraq announced that it would begin to boost bank balances abroad through the foreign currency sale window. A bank statement said: The efforts of various institutions in our country are joining together to combat the Corona epidemic and to get out safely from this crisis. He called on banks, exchange companies and electronic payment companies to take their responsible role at this stage. He added: Although the curfew has affected the activities and actions of all official institutions, including the Central Bank of Iraq, we have taken the initiative to employ our cadres in order to sustain the payment of salaries and finance of food, agricultural, medical and all necessary materials. He stressed that there is no change in his policy in financing trade and imports, which will resume after the ban is completely lifted. He explained: As for the current stage, the bank will begin to enhance bank balances abroad through the window of selling foreign currency according to a schedule of working days and according to the requirements of the situation and this is to be reported first-hand, for the purposes of financing the credits of importing foodstuffs, agricultural supplies, medical materials and goods necessary for the country and citizens.
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  • Investors Iraq News's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:21 PM
    By John Lee. UAE-based Dana Gas is reported to be considering spinning off its upstream business, which would include its 35-percent stake in Pearl Petroleum, which owns the righs to the Khor Mor (pictured) and Chemchemal fields in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI). TradeArabia quotes Hamid Jafar, Chairman of Dana Gas, as saying: "We are studying the feasibility of a demerger as we believe it could be value accretive for our shareholders." The new company would also be listed on the Abu Dhabi Stock Exchange (ADX). More here. (Source: TradeArabia) Source: Iraq-BusinessNews.com. Post your commentary below.
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  • Investors Iraq News's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:21 PM
    Ambassador Stephen Hickey addresses IBBC members via videoconferenceOver 50 Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) members yesterday participated in a video conference call with Ambassador Stephen Hickey, from his office in the UK Baghdad Embassy. The Ambassador updated members on the current situation in Iraq, covering four key areas of interest: COVID 19 response and challenges, The Political landscape and implications for Government , the Economy and impact of oil prices, and Security and how this is impacting on coalition activity in the region. The Ambassador took questions from a number of members concerned about decision making within Government at this time of uncertainty, the role and support of UKEF regarding on going projects, the role of the dollar and local currencies, the likely nature of a new Government, and the general outlook for Iraq. Feedback from the Conference suggests videoconferencing will become a regular feature of IBBC activity and reporting, due to the high volume of attendees, and IBBC expect to set up regular calls with Ministers, institutions and officials to engage with members directly and as a group. (Source: IBBC) Source: Iraq-BusinessNews.com. Post your commentary below.
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  • Investors Iraq News's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:21 PM
    By Dr Khalil Abdul Kareem, Manager, AMAR ICF Clinic, Khanke Camp, Iraq. Iraqis Prepare for Another War. This Time it's Covid-19Life is so unfair. Just when you think a displaced person's world can't get any worse here in northern Iraq, along comes a virus that threatens to be the biggest disaster of all. For almost six years, hundreds of thousands of Yazidi men, women and children have lived a truly miserable life. First the monsters of Daesh (ISIS) attacked their towns and villages. Thousands were killed and thousands more women and girls were kidnapped, raped and sold as slaves. The rest managed to escape. But they left behind their homes, their precious possessions, their jobs. Their lives changed beyond recognition for ever. Since then, the majority have been forced to live in the sprawling displacement camps. For years now they have slept under canvas, on hard concrete floors. Sanitation is basic. This part of Iraq is dreadfully cold in winter and insanely hot in summer - it is sometimes more than 50c! It is the perfect breeding ground for sickness. Now we are faced with COVID-19. In an environment like this, it will spread like wildfire unless we take every possible precaution. It is a race against time. Here in Khanke Camp, on the outskirts of the city of Dohuk, we have been working non-stop. Khanke is home to more than 15000 people, and there are almost double that amount of people living as IDPs around the perimeters. I manage the only health centre here, which is run by the UK-based charity The AMAR International Charitable Foundation (www.amarfoundation.org) We have a small staff of locally trained medical professionals - doctors, nurses, lab technicians and pharmacists - and around 25 women health volunteers (WHVs). For the last week we have all been working non-stop to try educate the entire camp about how to keep COVID-19 at bay. The place is already over-crowded and there can be as many as 10 people sharing just one tent. All our teams are out from first light, visiting people and giving them as much information as we possibly can. The biggest message is of course to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. Something that is very easy to do when you have access to a proper bathroom and running water, but not so easy here. But people are scared, so they are really getting the message. They understand the need to distance and to stay away from others as much as they can. Our clinic is staying open six days a week, and we get up to 200 patients a day. Gastric infections are commonplace of course, as is flu, hypertension, chronic anxiety and depression. Now every patient is given a lesson in how to keep themselves safe from COVID-19. Everyone knows it's a threat. They all see it on the news, so they are eager to find out any way they can to protect themselves. My staff too - like medics around the world - are frightened they could be the first to develop the symptoms. They all have families. Most are the sole providers. If they get sick, what will happen they ask me. We all take every possible precaution. But access to PPE is limited. The Dohuk Health Directorate supply us, but they have limited stocks of masks, gowns, gloves. Certainly nowhere near enough to supply the population of the entire camp. We need outside help and support. Right now. We have done what we can. The rest is up to god. We pray COVID-19 will not make it here. SUPPORT AMAR ICF VIA VIRGIN MONEY HEREorPLEASE FIND THE DONATION FORM HERE Source: Iraq-BusinessNews.com. Post your commentary below.
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  • Investors Iraq News's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:21 PM
    KEY MESSAGES 695 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Iraq as of 1 April 2020 50 fatalities confirmed due to COVID-19 as of 1 April 2020 170 patients who have recovered from the virus Curfews/airport closures extended WHO expects spike in recorded cases due to increased testing New ministerial high committee formed SITUATION OVERVIEW As of 1 April 2020, the Iraqi Ministry of Health has confirmed 695 cases of COVID-19 in Iraq; 50 fatalities; and 170 patients who have recovered from the virus. Approximately one-quarter of the cases are in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI; the remainder are in federal Iraq. The Government of Iraq (GOI) has extended curfews and movement restrictions in federal Iraq until 19-April. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has extended curfews and movement restrictions until 10-April, and announced that government offices will remain closed until 16-April. Airports throughout Iraq and the KRI will remain closed until 11-April. The GOI has established a ministerial High Committee for National Health and Safety to help contain the outbreak of COVID-19. The committee is chaired by the Prime Minister and includes the Ministers of oil, finance, planning, foreign affairs, interior, higher education, trade, health, agriculture, labor and social affairs, communications and transportation. Other members include the National Security Adviser, Civil Aviation Authority Director, Kurdistan Region representative, Communication and Media Commission Director, Border Authority Director and the head of the Iraqi media network. The confirmed case load in Iraq has doubled over the past week, which the World Health Organization (WHO) attributes primarily to more labs opening throughout the country and the increased availability of testing. There is expected to be a continued surge in confirmed cases in coming days. The Iraqi Red Crescent Society has undertaken a mass disinfection campaign throughout the country, sterilizing thousands of sites including markets, shops, residential areas, hospitals, health institutions, prisons, mosques and shrines. Camp management actors are working with the Iraq Information Centre (IIC) on the mass dissemination of information related to COVID-19 prevention and preparedness via SMS for families living in camps. The IIC is a call centre that provides information on humanitarian assistance in Iraq to IDPs, returnees, asylum seekers, refugees, and vulnerable host community members. Some banks are re-opening in both KRI and federal Iraq, on reduced operating hours. This is expected to help ease reported problems with cash-based transfers to people in camps, as well as the payment of salaries for national staff. Partners continue to monitor the liquidity of financial institutions. (Source: OCHA) Source: Iraq-BusinessNews.com. Post your commentary below.
    0 replies | 8 view(s)
  • Investors Iraq News's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:20 PM
    Over the past few years, Iraq's health system has faced many challenges, including internal conflict and the world's biggest mass displacement in 2014-2016, all of which had a tough toll on an already fragile health system. With the detection of COVID-19 in China in December 2019, WHO immediately initiated preparedness efforts, and arranged a series of technical meetings with emergency teams in both federal and regional ministries of health to assess health facilities' resources and preparedness capacities to respond to a potential importation of the disease. The sudden eruption of the virus in neighbouring Islamic Republic of Iran scaled up the risk of the disease spread in Iraq and necessitated faster prevention and infection control measures especially in the holy cities and pilgrimage sites, bordering governorates, and vulnerable communities in internally displaced and refugee camps. Dr Adham Ismail, WHO Representative and Head of Mission in Iraq, said: "WHO is aware of the impact of a pandemic like COVID-19 on Iraq's health sector and recovering services. "We discussed with the health authorities in the Center and Kurdistan Region the means of urgent support to contain the transmission of the disease in the country. Joint work is underway and cooperation is at highest levels." On 2 February, WHO proactively began strengthening national disease surveillance capacities in Iraq and providing case definition and management training, in addition to large-scale risk communications activities. Hundreds of thousands of prevention and transmission control messages were printed and provided to 20 directorates of health in the 18 governorates, including the Kurdistan region governorates of Erbil, Dohuk, and Suleimaniya. Mobile health teams took to main streets, public and religious places, remote cities and hard-to-reach villages in addition to airports, border points, state institutions, and camps hosting refugees and internally displaced people. Maha Salam and Najah Ahmed from Wasit Directorate of Health in Wasit governorate, eastern Iraq, were among the mobile health team distributing WHO health messages to the public as early as 16 February 2020. Early mobilization campaigns to distribute WHO COVID-19 educational materials succeeded in raising public awareness and readying preparedness efforts to protect individual health and that of the community in general. WHO is working with the federal and regional ministries of health to increase and augment case management capacities, as well as detection and surveillance. An urgent consignment of PPEs and laboratory test kits was delivered to ministries of health to enable the timely detection of cases and protect health workers in designated hospitals. As of 30 March, Iraq reported a total of 572 confirmed cases with 42 deaths and 143 recoveries all over the country. The reported figures are still moderate so far, but WHO expects a spike in the coming two weeks due to the scale up in laboratory testing capacity which are going to be of high importance in terms of infection transmission and control," concluded Dr Ismail. (Source: WHO) Source: Iraq-BusinessNews.com. Post your commentary below.
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  • Investors Iraq News's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:20 PM
    Newly trained women in Ninewa produce face masks to combat spread of COVID-19 in IraqIn January 2020, UNDP and Kurdistan Human Rights Watch (KHRW) collaborated to train sixty women on sewing and tailoring in Ninewa over the course of a ten-day workshop. At the time, these women could not have foreseen how their newly developed skills would contribute to combatting the deadly coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic currently sweeping the globe. As of 25 March 2020, the World Health Organization has tracked over 400, 000 cases of COVID-19 with over 18, 000 confirmed deaths. The pandemic has affected 197 countries, areas, and territories, including Iraq. When a pharmaceutical company contracted by the Ninewa Department of Health was tasked with producing five million disposable face masks in response to the spread of COVID-19, thirty of the recently trained women were employed to use their skills to produce the masks. After briefings on the health standards and nature of the environment required for mask production, the seamstresses began creating thousands of masks daily in controlled conditions. Working swiftly to produce this vital personal protection equipment despite the curfew in Ninewa Governorate, these skilled women are directly contributing to the mitigation of COVID-19 in Iraq. Aseel, 45, says: "We have produced thousands of pieces and the major portion is delivered to the Ninewa Health Department. Some other organizations are also receiving face masks from us and they distribute those free of cost in communities and camps." Not only has the sewing and tailoring skills training empowered sixty women with new abilities, it has also instilled within them hope for their futures. Sustainable development projects such as these are at the forefront of UNDP Iraq's priorities. Nora, 37, says: "I am working on developing myself in the sewing profession and in the future, I would like to create a workplace for sewing or a small factory." The organization and facilitation of skills development workshops with Kurdistan Human Rights Watch is part of a project spearheaded by UNDP Iraq under the Social Cohesion Programme, which aims to improve the enabling environment for peace and social cohesion in all areas of Iraq. (Source: UNDP) Source: Iraq-BusinessNews.com. Post your commentary below.
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  • Investors Iraq News's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:20 PM
    From Al Jazeera. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News. Iraq has seen a relatively low number of infections compared to its neighbour, Iran, the regional hotspot of the pandemic. Iraq has reported 547 confirmed cases and 42 deaths. But there is growing concern the virus could overwhelm its fragile healthcare system. Al Jazeera's Simona Foltyn reports from Baghdad. Source: Iraq-BusinessNews.com. Post your commentary below.
    0 replies | 9 view(s)
  • Investors Iraq News's Avatar
    03-30-2020, 11:56 PM
    By John Lee. French container transportation and shipping company CMA CGM, has announced the first closing of its agreement with China Merchants Port (CMP), with the sale of its stakes in eight port terminals to Terminal Link. Among the facilities involved is the Umm Qasr Terminal in Iraq. The Terminal Link joint venture was created in 2013 and is 51% owned by CMA CGM and 49% by CMP. In line with the terms and conditions of the agreement announced on 20th December 2019 this first transaction represents a total all-cash consideration of USD 815 million. It will enable Terminal Link to expand its geographic footprint and global network, thereby enhancing its business development prospects. This initial disposal includes the following terminals: Odessa Terminal (Ukraine) CMA CGM PSA Lion Terminal (CPLT), Singapore Kingston Freeport Terminal (Jamaica) Rotterdam World Gateway (Netherlands) Qingdao Qianwan United Advance Container Terminal (China) Vietnam International Container Terminal, Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam) Laem Chabang International Terminal (Thailand) Umm Qasr Terminal (Iraq) The sale of the last two terminals covered by the agreement between CMA CGM and CMP should be completed by the end of first-half 2020 for an all-cash consideration over USD 150 million, pending approval by the competent regulatory agencies. With this transaction, CMA CGM is proceeding with the delivery of its USD 2.1 billion liquidity plan announced on 25th November 2019. This plan among others reduces CMA CGM consolidated debt by more than USD 1.3 billion by the end of first-half 2020 and allows to extend certain financing facilities maturing during the year. The CMA CGM Group strengthens its balance sheet amidst the high uncertainty created by the global Covid-19 health crisis. While the crisis has had a limited impact in the first quarter of 2020, the Group expects a decline in volumes, particularly outbound to Europe and the United States. On this occasion, Rodolphe Saadé, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the CMA CGM Group, states: "This transaction, announced on the 20th of December 2019, is an important step in its 2.1 billion USD liquidity plan and will allow us to strengthen our balance sheet. Amid the high uncertainty created by the COVID-19 health crisis, the closing of this transaction as previously announced demonstrates the resilience of the CMA CGM Group." (Source: CMA CGM) Source: Iraq-BusinessNews.com. Post your commentary below.
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  • Investors Iraq News's Avatar
    03-30-2020, 11:56 PM
    By John Lee. The Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Masrour Barzani, has reportedly called for the public prosecutor to launch an investigation into allegations that Russian state oil company Rosneft paid $250 million to a consultant to secure deals in Iraqi Kurdistan. Earlier this month, Bloomberg claimed that the oil company paid the money an unknown individual in 2017 and 2018 to become the dominant foreign player in the Kurdish oil industry. More here. (Source: Ekurd) Source: Iraq-BusinessNews.com. Post your commentary below.
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  • Investors Iraq News's Avatar
    03-30-2020, 11:56 PM
    By John Lee. European countries including France, Spain and the Netherlands have reportedly announced the temporary withdrawal of troops from the anti-Islamic State (IS) coalition and NATO Training Mission in Iraq. According to Janes 360, the withdrawals follow an announcement by Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) that it had ceased training Iraqi security forces to reduce the spread of Covid-19. More here. (Source: Janes 360) Source: Iraq-BusinessNews.com. Post your commentary below.
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  • Investors Iraq News's Avatar
    03-30-2020, 11:56 PM
    By Omar al-Jaffal for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News. Implementation of curfew to fight COVID-19 proves difficult in IraqIraq is working hard to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, which had infected 382 people in the country as of March 26, killing 36. However, people's refusal to comply with government instructions threatens to exacerbate the health situation. Click here to read the full story. Source: Iraq-BusinessNews.com. Post your commentary below.
    0 replies | 19 view(s)
  • BatmaninIraq's Avatar
    03-30-2020, 04:07 AM
    Victory Coalition: the option of printing the currency is destructive to the economy and Parliament must hold the government accountable 3/28/2020 14:32 Victory Coalition - the option of printing the currency is destructive to the economy and Parliament must hold the government accountable The victory coalition confirmed, on Saturday, that the option of printing the currency is devastating to the economy, stressing that Parliament should hold the government accountable. A member of the Victory Ali Al-Sunaid coalition said in a press statement that “the options revealed by the head of the Follow-up Cell in the Prime Minister’s Office yesterday, Friday, are catastrophic options for the state’s financial, economic and social security.” He called on Parliament to “hold the current government accountable for its reckless spending policies and misuse.” Authority to manage public interests. ” He added, “This government inherited a cash surplus from the Abadi government, which fought wars of liberation and unity with the lowest financial budgets. However, with rational management of wealth, it managed to hand over 14 billion dollars to the government of Abdul-Mahdi, in addition to the 2019 budget, but it was wasted, and today we are on the cusp of A stifling financial crisis due to the deterioration of oil prices. ” And Sunaid added that “what the head of the follow-up cell mentioned is dangerous and puts the government in front of legal and political accountability, saying that the state of the state will be affected starting next month (including the salaries of employees), which may prompt Iraq to print the currency as a last option, something that threatens the state of the whole state, and not It must be covered politically and conclusively by the beneficiaries at the expense of the country and the citizen. ” He pointed out that “the coalition of victory has always warned against the policies of waste, corruption and theft of wealth, the last of which was its warning on 10 March last,” calling for “a rapid recovery of the crisis and the development of valid and decisive solutions to ensure the state’s financial and economic security.” alliraqnews.com
    11 replies | 662 view(s)
  • Investors Iraq News's Avatar
    03-30-2020, 01:02 AM
    By John Lee. Iraq's National Investment Commission (NIC), in coordination with the General Committee for Free Zones, has announced the following investment opportunities: The expansional area in Khor Al- Zubair on the land lot No. (13/8 M 44 Hila and 1/3, 2/2, 1/3 M 20 Shaawan) with total area of (20,364,200 M²) that is overlooking khor Al- Zubair stream and adjacent to the sea port and the Fertilizers company with only 55 km paved distance from Safwan border point and full covered by the power grid services. Qaem Free zone , on the land lot No. (133/7533 M 21 Deyom Al- maneai) with total area of (430,000 M²) , the land is adjacent to Qaem Border Point and near to Electricity and water sources and close to the center of Qaem District while only (25) km distant from Ukaz gas field. Lands allocated for free zones in Qaem - Ukashat , on the land lot No. (133/7533 and 11/5 M 21 Deyom Al- maneai) with total area of (6,612,500 M²) , the land is adjacent to Qaem Border Point that is only 20 paved kilo meters distant from its strategic location which is close to the Phosphates factory in Ukashat near Ukaz Gas field. Willing investors are invited to apply through sending their applications to the One Stop Shop dept. of NIC oss@investpromo.gov.iq or by visiting the General Committee for Free Zones in Baghdad - Nidhal Street - White palace next to the Building of the General Committee for customs. (Source: NIC) Source: Iraq-BusinessNews.com. Post your commentary below.
    0 replies | 18 view(s)
  • Investors Iraq News's Avatar
    03-30-2020, 01:02 AM
    By Aymen Al-Faisal, for the Al-Bayan Center for Planning and Studies. Any opinions expressed are those of the author(s), and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News. The Implications of the Coronavirus on the Overall Situation in IraqWith the spread of the coronavirus globally, many countries around the world face several challenges in the absence of any looming solutions so far. Economies are the most affected by this virus that led to restrict the movement and the freedom of travel between countries, limit the transport of goods by sea and land, and raise spending on precautionary measures to limit the virus spread. Since the discovery of the virus in January, the stock market has not declined only in China, but it has impacted the Asian and the American markets as well. Click here to read the full article. Source: Iraq-BusinessNews.com. Post your commentary below.
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  • Investors Iraq News's Avatar
    03-30-2020, 01:02 AM
    By Michael Knights, Hamdi Malik and Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi, for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Any opinions expressed are those of the author(s), and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News. Honored, Not Contained: The Future of Iraq's Popular Mobilization ForcesHastily raised when the Islamic State was knocking at the gates of Baghdad, the state-backed Iraqi militia network al-Hashd al-Shabi has swollen into a 160,000-strong armed force with an annual budget exceeding $2 billion. But more than five years after its formation, the Hashd -- also known as the Popular Mobilization Forces -- still lacks defined roles and has largely fallen under the sway of Kataib Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed factions. Now that Iranian Qods Force commander Qasem Soleimani and Kataib Hezbollah leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis are no longer on the scene, observers are asking what comes next for the Hashd. In this highly detailed Policy Focus, meant as a primer for Iraqi and international agencies, analysts Michael Knights, Hamdi Malik, and Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi lay out the PMF's current status, offering a novel look at its functions, structure, and activities as a military institution. The study identifies achievable security-sector reforms while exploring longer-term options around which consensus must first be built. Although demobilization is not a realistic goal in the near term, Iraq and its partners can take practical steps to honor Hashd units for their sacrifices while also containing them in the interests of national sovereignty and stability. Full 236-page report here. Source: Iraq-BusinessNews.com. Post your commentary below.
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  • BatmaninIraq's Avatar
    03-29-2020, 09:26 PM
    The central bank clarifies about news of the printing of the currency Economie 2020-03-29 | 06:58 27,828 views The Central Bank of Iraq issued, today, Sunday, an explanation regarding what is being circulated by news of the possibility of printing an Iraqi currency to "avoid" economic problems. He said, "An authorized source" in the bank, according to a statement received by Alsumaria News, that "printing Iraqi banknotes is a routine technical procedure practiced by the central bank according to the requirements of cash circulation, and that printing the banknotes is a completely separate process from the cash issuance process."
    11 replies | 662 view(s)
  • Investors Iraq News's Avatar
    03-29-2020, 01:04 AM
    By Omar al-Jaffal for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News. Coronavirus damages Iraqi economy with fall in tourism, oil pricesAs of March 23, Iraq had registered 266 novel coronavirus cases, with 23 deaths. Although Iraq is much better off than many other countries, the fast-growing number of cases - 33 new infections and three more deaths in a 24-hour period - indicate that Iraq soon may face a very difficult situation. Also, measures the government has taken to fight the virus have damaged the economy; these steps have included imposing a curfew, closing roads between cities and canceling all religious tourism. This is not mention the oil price drop. Click here to read the full story. Source: Iraq-BusinessNews.com. Post your commentary below.
    0 replies | 27 view(s)
  • Investors Iraq News's Avatar
    03-29-2020, 01:04 AM
    By Azhar Al-Rubaie, for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Any opinions expressed are those of the author(s), and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News. Despite Political Turmoil and Coronavirus, Iraq's Protest Movement ContinuesWith neighboring Iran one of the most severely affected areas of coronavirus, Iraqi authorities are also confirming rising infections and deaths despite closing the border between the two states. However, Iraqi protestors maintain that "oppression and fear are more dangerous than coronavirus," and have consistently demonstrated a will to continue what has become known as the October 2019 revolution. Full report here. Source: Iraq-BusinessNews.com. Post your commentary below.
    0 replies | 31 view(s)
  • Investors Iraq News's Avatar
    03-28-2020, 02:12 AM
    US Treasury Designates Vast Network of IRGC-QF Officials and Front Companies in Iraq, IranThe U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has designated 20 Iran- and Iraq-based front companies, senior officials, and business associates that provide support to or act for or on behalf of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) in addition to transferring lethal aid to Iranian-backed terrorist militias in Iraq such as Kata'ib Hizballah (KH) and Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq (AAH). Among other malign activities, these entities and individuals perpetrated or supported: smuggling through the Iraqi port of Umm Qasr; money laundering through Iraqi front companies; selling Iranian oil to the Syrian regime; smuggling weapons to Iraq and Yemen; promoting propaganda efforts in Iraq on behalf of the IRGC-QF and its terrorist militias; intimidating Iraqi politicians; and using funds and public donations made to an ostensibly religious institution to supplement IRGC-QF budgets. The terrorist militias supported by the Iranian regime such as KH and AAH have continued to engage in attacks on U.S. and Coalition forces in Iraq. "Iran employs a web of front companies to fund terrorist groups across the region, siphoning resources away from the Iranian people and prioritizing terrorist proxies over the basic needs of its people," said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. "The United States maintains broad exceptions and authorizations for humanitarian aid including agriculture commodities, food, medicine, and medical devices to help the people of Iran combat the coronavirus." Today's designations were taken pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended, which targets terrorists and those providing support to or acting for or on behalf of designated terrorists or supporting acts of terrorism. RECONSTRUCTION ORGANIZATION OF THE HOLY SHRINES IN IRAQ The Reconstruction Organization of the Holy Shrines in Iraq (ROHSI) is an IRGC-QF-controlled organization based in Iran and Iraq whose leadership was appointed by the late IRGC-QF Commander Qassem Soleimani. Though ostensibly a religious institution, ROHSI has transferred millions of dollars to the Iraq-based Bahjat al Kawthar Company for Construction and Trading Ltd, also known as Kosar Company, another Iraq-based entity under the IRGC-QF's control. Kosar Company has served as a base for Iranian intelligence activities in Iraq, including the shipment of weapons and ammunition to Iranian-backed terrorist militia groups. Additionally, Kosar Company has received millions of dollars in transfers from the Central Bank of Iran, which was designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 in September 2019 for its financial support of the IRGC-QF and Lebanese Hizballah. Both the IRGC-QF and Hizballah have been designated by the U.S. Department of State as Foreign Terrorist Organizations under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. In addition, IRGC-QF officials have used ROHSI's funds to supplement IRGC-QF budgets, likely embezzling public donations intended for the construction and maintenance of Shiite shrines in Iraq. ROHSI and Kosar Company are being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 for being owned, controlled, or directed by, directly or indirectly, the IRGC-QF. OFAC is also designating Mohammad Jalal Maab, the current head of ROHSI, who was personally appointed to the position by former IRGC-QF Commander Soleimani. Jalal Maab succeeded Hassan Pelarak, an IRGC-QF officer and co-owner of Kosar Company, who was selected by Soleimani to serve as his special assistant on an IRGC-QF-led committee focused on sanctions evasions activity. Pelarak also worked with IRGC-QF officials to transfer missiles, explosives, and small arms to Yemen, intensifying the Yemeni conflict and exacerbating one of the world's worst humanitarian catastrophes. Mohammad Jalal Maab is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 for being a leader or official of ROHSI. Hassan Pelarak is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the IRGC-QF. Alireza Fadakar, another co-owner of Kosar Company, has worked in Iraq on behalf of the IRGC-QF for several years and is an IRGC-QF commander in Najaf, Iraq. Muhammad al-Ghorayfi is an IRGC-QF affiliate and employee of Kosar Company who provides administrative support to Fadakar and has facilitated the travel of IRGC-QF officials between Iraq and Iran. Alireza Fadakar is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the IRGC-QF. Muhammad al-Ghorayfi is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, Alireza Fadakar. Masoud Shoustaripousti, another co-owner of Kosar Company, has worked in Iraq on behalf of the IRGC-QF for several years and has laundered money for the group. Shoushtaripousti worked with Mashallah Bakhtiari, who used Kosar Company to launder money and worked with officials at the Baghdad-based branch of Iran's Bank Melli to deposit funds for the IRGC-QF in Iraq. OFAC designated Bank Melli in November 2018, pursuant to E.O. 13224, for acting as a conduit for payments to the IRGC-QF which also used Bank Melli to dispense funds to Iranian-backed terrorist groups in Iraq. Masoud Shoustaripousti is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the IRGC-QF. Mashallah Bakhtiari is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, the IRGC-QF. AL KHAMAEL MARITIME SERVICES Separately, OFAC is taking action against Al Khamael Maritime Services (AKMS), an Iraq-based company operating out of Umm Qasr port in which the IRGC-QF has a financial interest. The IRGC-QF leveraged Shiite militia group contacts to evade Iraqi government inspection protocol at Umm Qasr port and has charged foreign companies and vessels fees for services at its terminal at the port. AKMS also worked to sell Iranian-origin petroleum products in contravention of U.S. sanctions against the Iranian regime. AKMS is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 for being owned, controlled, or directed by, directly or indirectly, the IRGC-QF. OFAC is also designating Hasan Saburinezhad, also known as Engineer Morteza, who is involved in the finances of AKMS. As a representative of AKMS, Saburinezhad worked to facilitate the entry of Iranian shipments into Iraqi ports for the benefit of the IRGC-QF. Saburinezhad is also involved in IRGC-QF financial and economic activities between Iran, Iraq, and Syria, including smuggling activities along the Syria/Iraq border. Saburinezhad also runs smuggling routes to help Iraqi terrorist group KH and the IRGC-QF smuggle goods into Iraq from Iran, and has assisted KH in funding the acquisition and transfer of goods out of Iran. Saburinezhad is the Managing Director and a member of the board of directors of Mada'in Novin Traders (MNT), an Iran- and Iraq-based company associated with multiple IRGC-QF officials, including Vali Gholizadeh, who has worked with Saburinezhad for the benefit of both AKMS and MNT. Hasan Saburinezhad is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the IRGC-QF. Mada'in Novin Traders is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 for being owned, controlled, or directed by, or to have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Saburinezhad. Gholizadeh is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 for being a leader or official of Mada'in Novin Traders. OFAC is also designating Mohammed Saeed Odhafa Al Behadili, the Managing Director of AKMS, and Ali Hussein Falih Al-Mansoori, also known as Seyyed Rezvan, the company's deputy managing director and head of its board of directors. Additionally, as of 2018, Al Behadili was focused on facilitating shipments and business transactions to circumvent U.S. sanctions against the Iranian regime. Al-Mansoori has worked with IRGC-QF officials on business issues related to AKMS. Mohammed Saeed Odhafa Al Behadili is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, AKMS. Ali Hussein Falih Al-Mansoori is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 for being a leader or official of AKMS. Sayyed Reza Musavifar, who is responsible for the accounts and finances of AKMS, has worked with the IRGC-QF to transfer money to terrorist militias, including KH and Lebanese Hizballah. In 2014, Musavifar transferred the equivalent of millions of dollars of foreign currency to senior IRGC-QF officials. Musavifar is a part owner of Middle East Saman Chemical Company, an Iran-based company that maintained an account at Rashed Exchange, an Iran-based exchange house used to convert currency for the IRGC-QF that was designated in May 2018 for being owned or controlled by Mohammadreza Khedmati, an individual designated for support to the IRGC-QF. Sayyed Reza Musavifar is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, the IRGC-QF. Middle East Saman Chemical Company is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 for being owned, controlled, or directed by, or to have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Sayyed Reza Musavifar. Additionally, Ali Farhan Asadi is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, AKMS. SAYYED YASER MUSAVIR AND MEHDI GHASEMZADEH IRGC-QF official Sayyed Yaser Musavir has been deployed to Iraq extensively since early 2014 in support of the IRGC-QF, and he has coordinated operations between the group and Iraqi terrorist militia group officials. In 2019, Musavir coordinated with IRGC-QF officials to sell Iranian petroleum products to Syria. In 2018, Musavir coordinated propaganda efforts with AAH on behalf of senior IRGC-QF officials. AAH was designated in January 2020 by the U.S. Department of State as a Foreign Terrorist Organization under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act and as Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) pursuant to E.O. 13224. Sayyed Yaser Musavir is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the IRGC-QF. Mehdi Ghasemzadeh is an IRGC-QF official and is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the IRGC-QF. SHAYKH 'ADNAN AL-HAMIDAWI Shaykh 'Adnan Al-Hamidawi is a Special Operations Commander for KH who in 2019 planned to intimidate Iraqi politicians who did not support the removal of U.S. forces from Iraq. KH, an Iranian-backed terrorist militia group that has been a U.S. Department of State-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization and SDGT since 2009, receives lethal support from the IRGC-QF, and has been responsible for numerous terrorist acts against Iraqi, U.S., and Coalition forces in Iraq for over a decade, including bombings, rocket attacks, and sniper operations. Shaykh 'Adnan Al-Hamidawi is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, KH. SANCTIONS IMPLICATIONS As a result of today's action, all property and interests in property of these persons that are in or come within the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC. OFAC's regulations generally prohibit all dealings by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve and property or interests in property of blocked persons. In addition, persons that engage in certain transactions with the persons designated today may themselves be exposed to sanctions. Furthermore, any foreign financial institution that knowingly conducted or facilitated any significant transaction on behalf of individuals and entities designated today could be subject to U.S. correspondent account or payable-through account sanctions. Identifying information on the entities designated. (Source: OFAC) Source: Iraq-BusinessNews.com. Post your commentary below.
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  • Investors Iraq News's Avatar
    03-28-2020, 02:12 AM
    By Hafsa Halawa for The Middle East Institute. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author(s), and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News. The story from Iraq since last October has been mainly one of uplifting hope, as mass protests sweep across the country in a fight against corruption, nepotism, and bad governance. But what of the places left behind and ignored? For most of its modern history, Iraq has been embroiled in sectarianism and conflict, most recently with the rise of ISIS. The country has celebrated its ability to fight ISIS and take back the areas the group controlled between 2013 and 2017, but for those that remain in the most vulnerable liberated areas, life is precarious and dangerous, with underserviced communities living in the most dire of conditions. Click here to read the full article. Source: Iraq-BusinessNews.com. Post your commentary below.
    0 replies | 26 view(s)
  • Investors Iraq News's Avatar
    03-28-2020, 02:12 AM
    By Mustafa Saadoun for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News. Is another economic crisis looming in Iraq, with dropping oil prices?Political and security crises in Iraq have been escalating, and the coronavirus outbreak has recently been added to the list. Meanwhile, news about the dropping oil prices has added fuel to the fire, and Iraqis are all at risk. According to Mazhar Mohammad Saleh, economic affairs adviser to the Iraqi government, 93% of Iraq's budget relies on oil exports. On March 14, Saleh said, "Iraq has lost half of its financial revenues, with oil prices dropping to $30 ." Click here to read the full article. Source: Iraq-BusinessNews.com. Post your commentary below.
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  • Investors Iraq News's Avatar
    03-27-2020, 07:34 PM
    By John Lee. The Cabinet held its regular weekly meeting in Baghdad on Thursday under the chairmanship of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Oil, Thamir Ghadhban. It reviewed the impact of restrictions to contain covid-19, including curfews, on the health, financial and service sectors, and discussed measures to lessen the burden on Iraqis, receiving briefings from the Minister of Health, Dr. Jaafar Allawi and senior officials on current measures to contain the spread of the epidemic in Iraq. The Cabinet urged all citizens to abide by curfew regulations and follow the advice of health professionals, including practicing social distancing and avoiding gathering for their own safety and that of all Iraqis. The Cabinet discussed measures to ensure food security, continuation of essential services, transport of agricultural produce between provinces and requests from a number of Iraqi citizens abroad who wish to return home but are unable to do so because of current restrictions on air travel in several countries. The Cabinet thanked the Crisis Cell for its role in mobilising national efforts to contain Covid-19, and expressed its gratitude to Iraqi health teams, security forces, volunteers and community leaders for their hard work and dedication at this difficult time. The Cabinet decided to: Extend the curfew to 11 April 2020 in all regions of Iraq, and for current exemptions to be maintained; Direct all ministries, public bodies and local authorities to use their financial and other resources such as vehicles and equipment to support the Crisis Cell and the Ministry of Health Authorise the Minister of Health to allow some health professionals who have reached retirement age to continue in their posts for the duration of the crisis. (Source: Govt of Iraq) Source: Iraq-BusinessNews.com. Post your commentary below.
    0 replies | 29 view(s)
  • Investors Iraq News's Avatar
    03-27-2020, 07:34 PM
    Despite the combined pressures of a global pandemic, political deadlock, falling oil prices and continued violence against government forces and others, SKA has continued to deliver over 90% of Iraq's imported fuel requirements. SKA's unique partnership with the Ministry of Oil's Oil Pipeline Company (OPC) and the close cooperation of Ministry of Transport's General Company for the Ports of Iraq (GCPI) have ensured that vital supplies of imported diesel and gasoline continue to flow. SKA's CEO, Mr Mike Douglas said: "This is what SKA does. We stand firm in the face of adversity and get the job done. These combined challenges just make us more determined to succeed. Fuel supplies are vital to industry, transport and power generation and we will keep them flowing. "Of note, the vital dredging we just completed during the curfew, guarantees that the biggest cargos on LR2 vessels, are not stalled; before we started, that size of ship had never been seen in the river. The company was built on the motto of "doing difficult jobs in difficult places" and now, more than ever, that is true." "We thank all our local and expatriate staff, and the Iraq Government, for their steadfast support and cooperation. We realize that it is not easy to be away from homes and families in these challenging times, but together we will continue to ensure that the Iraqi people get what they need to overcome these daily challenges. We hope and pray that SKA as a company and Iraq as a nation will emerge stronger at the end of all this". SKA operates the only private Maritime Oil Storage and Distribution Terminal in Iraq. Combined with the joint operation of the oil import jetties in Khor Al Zubair Port, SKA is responsible to the importation of over 90% of Iraq's oil product import demand. SKA has ensured that this vital infrastructure is operated, maintained and enhanced during this difficult time. SKA, in partnership with the Iraq Government, hopes to build on this success in the future with further enhancements to the import and export infrastructure. Mike Douglas said: "We will overcome the current challenges and in the future build and operate more oil product storage in Khor Al Zubair. This will provide increased volumes for import and much needed cargo consolidation for export. It will also provide much needed employment for the local population. We have been in Iraq for 17 years and are here to stay." (Source: IBBC) Source: Iraq-BusinessNews.com. Post your commentary below.
    0 replies | 24 view(s)
  • Investors Iraq News's Avatar
    03-27-2020, 07:34 PM
    By Bryant Harris for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News. US provides Aid to help Iraq fight CoronavirusThe US Embassy in Baghdad announced today that is providing $670,000 to help Iraq fight the novel coronavirus pandemic. "Today's announcement shows the strength of the US and Iraqi partnership, and we are committed to fighting this pandemic alongside the Iraqi people," said US Ambassador to Iraq Matthew Tueller. "Support provided through the will directly enhance the country's ability to combat the spread of COVID-19." Click here to read the full article. Source: Iraq-BusinessNews.com. Post your commentary below.
    0 replies | 24 view(s)
  • BatmaninIraq's Avatar
    03-27-2020, 09:37 AM
    Government and parliamentary efforts to pay for the damage to the citizen's livelihood Friday, March 27, 2020 Government and parliamentary efforts to pay for the damage to the citizen's livelihood Baghdad / Huda Al-Azzawi The economic situation caused by the fall in the price of oil and the corona epidemic have prompted government and house officials to look for alternatives to cover the deficit and at the same time manage the country's health crisis. Despite the objections to the violation of the salaries of employees, the challenges force to take austerity measures to cross this stage, according to deputies, officials and specialists in economic affairs, including the pressure of government expenditures and the review of the financial privileges of some groups, while others believe that this complex crisis and the political conditions of the country, has prepared any chance to approve the general budget for fiscal year 2020. Dr Magda Tamimi, a member of the parliamentary finance committee, said the budget in its nature depends on two parts: oil revenues and non-oil revenues. "Oil revenues make up about 93 percent of the budget value, as the Iraqi economy is one-sided, as opposed to a small income from taxes, customs, state real estate and other tax funds," she said, noting that these revenues have declined significantly during the current two years and the past, due to the lack of use of electronic transactions in order to maintain opportunities for corruption. "Iraq has very large non-oil revenues, but the state treasury is only 10 percent, and the rest goes to the pockets of the corrupt," she said. "The sharp drop in oil prices, which coincided with the outbreak of the Corona virus, has paralysed most state departments, not only in Iraq but in countries around the world," she said. These challenges have prompted executives and legislatures to seek solutions, including recommending that certain categories of employees be cut off in order to support efforts to combat coronavirus and strengthen health services that are incapacitated, she said. "There are also other proposals to address the financial crisis, by going to doors that do not affect the salaries of employees, which will be discussed at the next meeting of the parliamentary crisis cell, stressing that expenditures should be compressed, and money is directed towards the provision of health services and salaries and support for the poor. Tamimi acknowledged that the state is having difficulty in securing these requirements and managing the funds in the next phase. "The dramatic fall in oil prices will have a major impact on the budget, which has been delayed because of the country's political situation," said Abdel Hussein al-Hanin, an advisor to Prime Minister Abdel Hussein al-Hanin. "We found it inappropriate to continue this situation, especially with the delay in forming a government that will take it upon itself to adopt a new budget for the country, which prompted the government to form a team of prime ministers to prepare a budget differently from previous budgets, based on performance and programs, and also to take into account the significant decline in oil prices," he said. He revealed that there is a proposal to deduct a limited percentage of the staff allowance slot and not from their original salaries, and temporarily, provided that these percentages return with the gradual recovery of oil prices, but the matter is still under discussion. He pointed out that the new budget, which is being prepared by the team in charge, will be free of deficits or there will be a low rate of not more than seven trillion dinars, which will be covered by the issuance of government bonds, in cooperation with Central Bank. Another view is that the adoption of bonds as a resource to meet the necessary expenditures, a proposal that is still under discussion and study, pointing out that the Corona crisis has cast a shadow on the economies of the world as a whole, and may be better in the situation of Iraq than other countries, after taking a series of measures, as the government It is tended to postpone the completion of many installment payments for loans and there is a study to activate the private sector to face this current situation through banking facilities to make way for the private sector to stimulate the economy. But economist Dr. Jaafar Baqir Alloush said the budget was important for the time being, and told Al-Sabah that "re-engineering public expenditures is the only access available to the monetary authorities in Iraq to get out of the crisis." "The fall in oil prices to levels of one-third of their value in 2018 and half of their value on the basis of the 2020 budget has created an economic environment that is faltering in the face of the implementation of the budget." With global stock indices falling and many global financial markets heading towards economic stagnation that could extend for the rest of this year, Iraq is blocking access to additional funding to meet the budget deficit." "There is a global crisis of low values for economic assets and a reassessment of the prices of world commodities, including oil," he said. The next recession will also set real determinants for the return of the price of oil." "The overall shape of the Iraqi economy is dominated by distribution, with the services and distribution sectors accounting for 42 percent of GDP and oil at about 56 percent, and the productive sectors remain the weakest," he said. "With such situations, quick and really available solutions are needed. The Iraqi dinar was depreciated in a controlled manner before it was forced to fall in order to ease the burden of the country's internal obligations." "Overcoming the crisis of low oil prices requires stopping the approval of any budget and relying on the 2019 budget by reducing 30 percent on all aspects of exchange, including salaries and privileges starting with presidencies and general managers, and private degree holders," he said. "It will be necessary to reduce the amount of concessions and prevent the combination of two deposits, and to activate non-oil revenues from duties and taxes to a minimum of 10 billion dollars," he said. In addition, the re-agreement with the Kurdistan Region guarantees access to oil revenues exported there, guaranteed means of payment, as well as pressure on government spending. It is also possible, and to talk to Jawahery, to postpone the payment of the dues of the oil companies operating in Iraq, to provide sufficient amount of money and manage it properly during the remainder of this General.
    11 replies | 662 view(s)
  • crazyfrank's Avatar
    03-27-2020, 01:45 AM
    There was a scifi movie long ago named... "THE DAY THE WORLD STOOD STILL" ........ and we are all living it right now............ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAjQG2-b3L0
    4 replies | 557 view(s)
  • Investors Iraq News's Avatar
    03-27-2020, 12:39 AM
    By Ahmed Tabaqchali, CIO of Asia Frontier Capital (AFC) Iraq Fund. This article was originally published by the LSE Middle East Centre. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News. Iraq's Power Conundrum: How to Secure Reliable Electricity While Achieving Energy IndependenceIraq remains in a bind regarding how to secure energy independence within its geopolitical constraints - most pertinently the American sanctions on Iran. The US is continuing to maintain pressure on Baghdad by extending 'final' waivers on the purchase of Iranian gas for only another 30 days, as part of its new tougher stance. Iraq, in response, could produce credible plans to eliminate its dependence on Iranian imports, which it accelerated with the approval in January of the fifth round of gas exploration contracts. However, achieving this would not end the need for Iranian imports, nor would it secure any kind of energy independence. More importantly, it will not change the shortages in the provision of electricity, which have served as a lightning rod for public anger over the failings of the post-2003 system. Appreciating the dependence on Iran for the provision of electricity means delving into the extraordinary mess that is Iraq's power grid, consisting of the power plants that generate electricity; transmission system that transport this electricity to population centres; and distribution networks which then distribute this electricity to end users. Decades of conflict have damaged most parts of the grid and, coupled with poor maintenance of the parts that escaped damage, this has rendered the grid impotent. Rebuilding the grid post-2003 was hampered by the rolling dysfunction of successive governments, in which significant capital expenditures were neutralised by mismanagement, lack of coordination between ministries, and the county's corrosive corruption. The public's frustration over this impotence extends beyond the inadequate provisioning of electricity throughout the year, as the summer's intense heat creates a particularly acute need for electricity, exposing the grid's shortcomings. These start at the generating stage with the gap between nameplate capacity, i.e. the maximum sustainable power output under ideal conditions, and actual output. While a gap always exists between these two, in 2018 the nameplate capacity was 30.3 gigawatts (GW), while effective capacity through the year was a mere 11.9 GW. A primary reason for this gap is the lack of appropriate fuel supply, in this case gas, which leads to substitutions by fuels such as crude or heavy fuel oil with the result that plants run at less than 60% of capacity - in 2018 only 62% of operating gas-powered plants actually used gas. Other reasons include poor maintenance and lack of cooling in high ambient heat. Moreover, up to 20% nameplate capacity in 2018 was non-operational. In turn, this increases the gap between demand and supply - in 2018 average demand was 17.7 GW vs. effective generated power of 11.9 GW. But this gap is only part of the story, as the electricity generated to meet demand does not mean that it was actually delivered to end users. The total electricity generated in 2018 was 105.4 terawatt-hours (TWh), but only 43.7 TWh reached end users for a loss of 58.5%. Most of these losses take place at the distribution stage, with technical losses stemming from age, conflict damage, poor maintenance accounting for two thirds, and non-technical losses, mostly electricity theft, accounting for a third. Technical losses are natural, however they occur at an extremely high rate in Iraq, as do non-technical losses. Stolen electricity - still consumed but not billed - is estimated at 17 TWh, and so the electricity delivered would rise to 61 TWh, equating to a loss of 42.2%. This dynamic can be seen below. Figure 1: Comparison between electricity demand and supply, 2010-18The increase in losses from 2014 onwards can be attributed to the ISIS conflict, which damaged 20% of the transmission system and 5.0 GW of generating capacity. 2019 saw meaningful improvement as effective capacity increased from 11.9 GW to 14.3 GW, and crucially during the summer months peak generation was 19.3 GW vs. peak demand of 27.5 GW. This gap of 8.2 GW has narrowed from 2018's 10.0 GW gap when peak supply was 16.5 GW vs. peak demand of 26.5 GW. Electricity generated from Iranian electricity and gas imports accounted for 20.7% of that generated throughout 2019, and probably a much higher percentage during the peak summer months. These contributions from electricity imports from 2010 and gas imports from 2017 can be seen below. Figure 2: Iranian contribution to Iraq's energy requirements between 2010-19The importance of Iranian electricity imports as a percentage of the total have steadily decreased, even though they increased in absolute levels; nevertheless, the decline in summer of 2018 was large enough to ignite the demonstrations in Basra. Imports in 2019 returned to the trend line and averaged 1.1 GW for the year. Plans for other regional imports include 0.5 GW to be imported from Kuwait by the end of 2020, rising to 1.9 GW over subsequent years, including planned imports from Jordan and Turkey. Iranian gas imports were 7.0 billion cubic meters (BCM) in 2019, up from 4.1 BCM in 2018, and accounted for 31% of total gas consumed - up from 24% in 2018. Plans for increased domestic production include increasing captured flared gas to 16-19 BCM by end of 2021 from 12 BCM in 2019. Additionally, the fifth round of gas contracts call for replacing Iranian imports in three years, i.e. generating 7.0-10.0 BCM over that period from the current 3.5 BCM. Assuming that the government executes these plans, in three years' time this would replace the current electricity produced by Iranian imports. But demand is set to increase by 20% from current levels, meaning that the current the gap between supply and demand would increase by up to 20%. Moreover, planned capacity additions require additional fuel, which under existing plans is earmarked to replace imported gas. However, maintaining Iranian imports would significantly decrease their importance in power generation from the current 20.7%, and in the process Iraq would add meaningful capacity to address demand. The goal posts are moving much faster than Iraq's ability to approach them, and as such the US's insistence on eliminating Iranian imports, far from achieving energy independence for Iraq, would instead exacerbate its energy vulnerabilities. Compounding these vulnerabilities is the massive investment spending needed to expand the grid's capacity, currently unaddressed in the government's structurally unbalanced budget, but which is ever more critical following the collapse of oil prices. Iraq's pathway out of this predicament, even at much higher oil prices, involves electricity tariff reform and the removal of energy subsidies, both the source of monumental waste and substantial market distortions. However, this requires a popular buy-in and for the increasingly alienated population to renew their belief in the post-2003 system's legitimacy. It is here where the international community can help Iraq achieve energy independence. Sources The figures and charts used in the article are the author's estimates, and are based on data from the Ministry of Electricity's annual reports and conference presentations, the IEA, BP, MEES, Oxford Energy, and publicly available news sources. However, all errors and omissions are the author's own. The data used in the article exclude electricity demand and generation in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI). However, figures for locally produced and consumed gas include the KRI, and as such the Iranian-origin percentages of total gas consumed would be somewhat higher than the 31% and 24% used if the KRI was excluded. Disclaimer: Ahmed Tabaqchali's comments, opinions and analyses are personal views and are intended to be for informational purposes and general interest only and should not be construed as individual investment advice or a recommendation or solicitation to buy, sell or hold any fund or security or to adopt any investment strategy. It does not constitute legal or tax or investment advice. The information provided in this material is compiled from sources that are believed to be reliable, but no guarantee is made of its correctness, is rendered as at publication date and may change without notice and it is not intended as a complete analysis of every material fact regarding Iraq, the region, market or investment. Source: Iraq-BusinessNews.com. Post your commentary below.
    0 replies | 22 view(s)
  • Investors Iraq News's Avatar
    03-27-2020, 12:39 AM
    By John Lee. IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is investing over $26 million in a new 161-bed hospital in Erbil in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. The facility will increase the availability of quality healthcare services and help address gaps in the country's healthcare infrastructure. The $92 million Seema Hospital project is expected to open its doors in 2021. In addition to providing core health services, it will be one of the city's first private hospitals with oncology, radiotherapy, and burn units. Treatment capacity in existing public and private healthcare facilities in Iraq is limited, with damages to the system estimated at $2.3 billion because of the conflict, according to a World Bank report. The hospital is owned by the Macrom Company for General Trading. Yaseen Al Bazzaz, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Macrom Company for General Trading, said "Since opening our first hospital in 2006, we have grown into a leading provider of specialized health care services ... Hundreds of patients are traveling desperately to neighboring countries for their medical needs. This will change once Seema Hospital opens and provides top-notch healthcare solutions." IFC is also contributing technical expertise, advising on environmental and social best practices, and providing guidance on corporate governance. The project is part of the World Bank Group's strategy in Iraq to develop social infrastructure. Seema Hospital also will be one of the first buildings in Iraq to be certified by IFC EDGE, a platform that helps to determine the most cost-effective options for designing green buildings. Tomasz Telma, IFC's Senior Director for Manufacturing, Agribusiness, and Services, said: "Iraq is a priority country for IFC, and we are committed to supporting its economic growth and health infrastructure ... Investing in quality hospitals helps improve care, especially where there is often limited access to effective secondary and tertiary facilities, and introduce expertise, technology, and best practices to these markets." IFC has increased its investments in Iraq during the last decade. Its committed portfolio stands at about $254 million, up from $20 million in 2010. As Iraq and other countries battle COVID-19, the World Bank Group, in response to the crisis, has announced $14 billion package of financing to help support countries to strengthen health systems and improve disease surveillance worldwide. (Source: IFC) Source: Iraq-BusinessNews.com. Post your commentary below.
    0 replies | 18 view(s)
  • Investors Iraq News's Avatar
    03-27-2020, 12:39 AM
    By John Lee. Genel Energy's newly-appointed Senior Independent Non-Executive Director and Deputy Chairman has purchased shares in the company. Former UK Minister for Defence Sir Michael Fallon bought 9,000 shares on Thursday at £1.0967 per share, for a total price of £9,870.30. He was appointed to the board in early February. (Source: Genel Energy) Source: Iraq-BusinessNews.com. Post your commentary below.
    0 replies | 20 view(s)
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