Speech by Deputy Prime Minister Dr Rowsch Shaways at the IBBC’s 7th London Conference, The Mansion House
Ladies and gentlemen,
I convey to you greetings of the Iraqi people, the government and the Prime Minister Mr Nuri Al-Maliki. I am delighted to participate in this gathering that demonstrates our mutual conviction to achieve our desired goals.
In previous addresses I underlined the strategic directions of our post 2003 economic policies, the weaknesses of Iraq’ s economy, proposals and priority programmes for building and boosting the economy. I also highlighted the status and future prospects of financial and banking services in Iraq.
Today I will discuss Energy infrastructure.
As it is known, respective Iraqi institutions prepared, with the assistance of international organizations, a comprehensive national energy strategy for the years 2013 to 2030. The strategy comprises all the basic components of the energy sector. In the forefront of course is oil and its production. Then the strategy covers natural gas and electrical energy, and associated facilities. The strategy suggests recommendations to achieve economic correlation of these components, and their joint social, economic and environmental influences on Iraq’s welfare. The strategy covers a period extending to 2030.
The strategy was developed in a multistage process in accordance with international practices, starting with a status quo analysis, followed by identifying a vision framework and a strategic assessment, identifying options, and eventually setting the priorities for a comprehensive plan to put in place the necessary infrastructures, with appropriate sequence, timing, and resource allocation. In addition to identifying the required institutional reforms necessary to achieve the objectives of the plan.
It is well known that Iraq’ s economy is extremely dependent on the performance of the energy sector, and both areas have suffered successive wars and international sanctions for over a period of 40 years. Despite the fact that Iraq has one of the largest oil and gas reserves internationally, yet, and because of the dilapidated associated infrastructure, Iraq cannot fully benefit from these natural resources. Furthermore, there is a chronic deficit in covering local demand of electrical power. With all these facts, I believe the topics of our discussions today are important.
The strategy visualizes: developing the energy sector in a coherent and environmentally friendly manner so to meet local energy demands, achieving multilateral national economic growth that improves living conditions, providing jobs , and positioning Iraq as a key player in regional and international energy markets.
Investment requirements and expected results of the National Integrated Energy Strategy:
It is anticipated that a total budget of US$620 billion would be required between 2012 and 20230. The split would be; US$530 billion as capital investment and US$90 billion for operational expenses. It is also expected that 15% of this total will come from private sector investments, in particular investments in refineries and associated industries. It is anticipated that a total revenue of US$6 Trillion will be generated from the total investment during the period covered by the strategy, and 85% of this total revenue will come from oil exports.
The above summary provides a snapshot of the huge investments required which will practically put in place the necessary energy infrastructure…. Now, such gigantic investments are not possible drawing only on local resources, and it would be necessary to use specialized international firms either through contracts or through Public–Private-Partnership modality. Iraq must adopt unorthodox means to implement this strategy, and Iraqi institutions would be expected to make all possible effort to undertake the necessary institutional reforms in order to attract reputable international businesses. It is worthwhile indicating that a lot has been done along these lines, such as amendments to the Investment Law undertaken by the National Investment Commission. And, new processes and procedures for Contracts and Procurement that were developed in consultation with all ministries and concerned institutions, have been approved. The finance and banking services sector will have its share of the necessary reforms according to future requirements, and Iraqi institutions with assistance from international organizations have undertaken studies to:
- Develop a fair, efficient and transparent taxation system based on fairness and maximizing taxation revenue.
- Engage trustworthy and reputable Insurances Firms in the Iraqi market to overcome the weaknesses of this sector that represent a real obstacle that prevents developing investment.
- Develop an effective banking system that can provide efficient and timely banking service, and finance investment projects. The opening of branches by Standard Chartered bank in Baghdad and Erbil is welcomed and will definitely support our banking sector reform process. Standard Chartered has eventually joined other leading British Businesses such as Shell and Weir Group that are already operating in Iraq. We as the Government of Iraq support them and provide assistance as required.
Finally, I wish to thank the organizers. Special thanks to the city of London for hosting four IBBC meetings at the Mansion House during the last four years. This reflects the growth of economic ties between our countries. I again thank Baroness Nicholson for inviting me to participate in today’s function and mark her efforts to make IBBC a leading business model that brings together reputable and professional businesses to work in Iraq.
My last words are to remind you all of what my Iraqi colleagues and I always say about Iraq being a very promising investment market. This reality is demonstrated by the fact that during 2013, investment licenses, totaling to US$ 27 billion were granted. This figure does not include Kurdistan.