Special Representative for Iraq of the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ján Kubiš, farewell message

United Nations Iraq

Special Representative for Iraq of the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ján Kubiš, farewell message

UNAMI HQ Baghdad, Iraq 12 December 2018 Dear Friends, Dear Colleagues,

There is always a time to say welcome and there’s always time to say good-bye. And, this is – for me – a time to say good-bye to both us in the UN family, in UNAMI, but in the Country Team; and also to our friends and my friends here in Iraq – the Iraqi people, representatives, politicians, civil society, tribal leaders – all of these people with whom I’ve been working in the past almost four years in the country. And it was a great honour and a privilege that I was given this opportunity by the Secretary-General to serve here not only the United Nations but, first of all, Iraq and the people of Iraq.

I can look back these almost four years – these were not the easiest years and it was not the easiest period in the life of the country. When I arrived, the country was divided. One-third of the country was controlled by the terrorist, brutal Daesh. People were not sure about a future. Close to six million IDPs and refugees had to leave their homes in different ways. The fighting was going on; people mobilised to protect the country, to save the country. People from all parts of Iraq, but notably from the southern provinces.

The economic crisis was deep. Oil prices hit the economy and hit the people. And the country, whether one would wish to recognise it or not, was a little bit isolated. It had ties with a number of countries but, as regards the region, it was underdeveloped. Many of the States in the region were not on good terms with the government then. And, if I look now quickly to what is the situation today, it’s a completely different story.

The country victoriously, and the people with great sacrifices, victoriously defeated the bandits and terrorists of Daesh, although some security risks still remain. But this battle continues. We know that it is not only about the ideology; it’s about the return of IDPs, it’s about justice and reconciliation; it’s about accountability; it’s about dignified future; it’s about everything that the country must have and the people must receive because they need it, they deserve it.

People, IDPs are coming back. Majority of them return but still there is a big number that needs to be supported. And they need to have places where to go, where to return, homes, cities; so, it is necessary to reconstruct also the cities that were destroyed in this fight. But all the people are equal. They have equal needs, they have equal aspirations; and it is for the government to provide, to act, to reflect this kind of needs that were under the security imperatives to fight Daesh pushed away to the side.

Now is the time to respond to the needs, now is the time to give services, to give jobs, to give good water, to give health, to give dignified future to all the people, all the citizens that should have equal rights, opportunities and responsibilities.

The country is united, and I am very much encouraged to see how political forces are trying to work together, learning lessons. They need to socialise these lessons of the past and indeed to work together for the benefit of the country, not only in pursuit of their particular interests. I am glad to see a very strong representation of political forces from the Kurdistan Region – they returned back to Baghdad. They are working together with the country for the benefit of the country and for the benefit of the Kurdistan Region and the Kurdish people everywhere. There are many other tasks that are in the future and must be priorities of the government, of political forces, and of the people of the country.

But the future is bright. When I arrived, the country and the situation was a country of conflict, a country of war, a country of disunity. What we have now, is a country of future, a country of opportunities for all the people; a country that has returned back to its rightful place in the region, has established deep contacts with all the regional – not only neighbouring, but other States – and, of course, is back to its rightful place as a strong partner in the international community.

Once again, my gratitudes to all of you, my UN colleagues in particular, for helping me, for supporting, but notably to the people of the country; to all the forces. And my special gratitude to His Eminence Sayed Sistani, who gives continuous positive guidance to all those that care about the future of Iraq and the people of Iraq.

Thank you very much.

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Office of Abdul-Mahdi issued an explanation on the “fallacies” Abadi

Abdulmahdi's office issues an explanation of Abbadi's "fallacies"
 Twilight News    
 16 minutes ago

The office of Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi issued a clarification on the strong response from former Prime Minister Haider Abadi to amendments made by the new cabinet including decisions at the end of the life of the previous government. 
A statement by the Office of the Mahdi, “raised some confusion, and emotion in transportation, lack of precision, seeking to stir up emotions, about the House of Representatives and the Council of Ministers resolutions to review the decisions for the period 07.01.2018 until 24-10-2018alsadrh discharge the previous daily affairs of Mr. Abadi , the government” . 
The office said , “denying these falsehoods , which claims that the revision would stop fundamentalist decisions to grant allocations to all provinces or to the province of Basra from the petrodollar or border crossings, or batches of emergency for the families of needy or the establishment of desalination plants, and so on . He stressed that the real purpose of the House of Representatives and Ministers resolutions he is:
First: to confirm and confirm fundamentalist decisions, and to achieve the interests of citizens and the public interest, and confirms the continuity of the work of successive governments, and secondly: to stop the decisions of non-fundamental and illegal, all after review and scrutiny. Which required clarification. 
Earlier Wednesday, former prime minister Haidar al-Abadi expressed surprise at the decisions of the government of Adel Abdul-Mahdi to cancel previous decisions taken by the government of Abadi, which he described as dangerous precedent. 
Abadi said in a statement, “We are very surprised by the decision taken by the Council of Ministers in a session on Tuesday, December 11, 2018, which includes the suspension of the decisions and directives of the Council of Ministers and the Prime Minister for the period from 1-7-2018 to 24-10-2018, which is a measure not Commensurate with the concepts of the state of institutions that the country must follow. “
“We confirm that what the Council of Ministers has done is a dangerous precedent that will lead to a state of confusion which is the suspension of the government’s work completely and the failure to take any decision after the elections and could extend to the cancellation of all previous government decisions by the following, which is detrimental to the interests of citizens. This decision because it will appeal to its current decisions, especially as it is a government incomplete number and challenged some of its ministers and the mechanism of selection marred by constitutional irregularities. 
” I refer to the part of the decisions that have been stopped, which has been serving thecitizens, including the cease – allocations to all Iraqi provinces, including the province of Basra from petrodollar for the execution of the services and the exchange of Basra ‘s share of border crossings revenue allocations and actions that have been taken in relation to the demands of the people of the provinces of Basra , Dhi Qar, Maysan, Najaf Karbala, Babil, Muthanna, Diwaniyah, Wasit, Baghdad, Nineveh and Anbar. “
He continued Abadi, ” as well as exchange boost emergency for two months to needy families in the province of Basra , and the establishment of desalination plants in the province of Basra , and the allocation of a plot of land housing for young athletes holding gold medals or silver or bronze and stop the allocation of the land of a wide area of the orphanage in the province of Najaf and instructions of the appointment Owners and the allocation of land for teachers and other service decisions. ” 
And “we refer to the importance of the dimensions of political things about the interests of citizens and warn that such a non – informed decisions and predominantly political nature and narrow interests will lead to chaos in government work and the government should not be dragged into such such decisions reflect negatively on public matters and services in the country for the benefit of citizens . ” .
He said that “we condemn such a decision, we demand to back down or else the president and the Council of Ministers will bear the consequences of that, especially as all segments of Iraq will have a position may reflect negatively on the course of the government’s work, especially as it is the first steps.”

Research Papers A Sovereign Wealth Fund for Iraq


Once used by only a few countries around the world ,Sovereign Wealth Funds( SWF )are becoming an increasingly common feature of international finance†and state-led economic development .An increasing number of countries ,predominantly developing countries, who rely on the export of commodities such as hydrocarbons and minerals are creating SWF portfolios .The exact motivation behind creating an SWF varies between countries .Some SWFs aim to provide funds for an aging or growing population while others invest the funds in development and investment programmes to help diversify revenue generation mechanisms .Others are explicitly designed to cushion a country’s economy from price shocks ,currency volatility and general international economic instability.

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BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Talks with the United States on additional exemptions from Iran’s sanctions



Iraqi Central Bank: We seek additional exemptions from Iran sanctions

Interviewed by Rasha Abu Zaki

12 December 2018

In an interview with “The New Arab”, Muhsin al-Alaq, Acting Governor of the Central Bank of Iraq , talks about a difficult monetary and financial stage that has passed through his country, with the security situation deteriorating and oil revenues falling, as well as the repercussions of sanctions on Iran.

To the text of the dialogue:

What has the Iraqi Central Bank achieved after the stability of the security situation in the country during the recent period?

We have passed an important and dangerous stage at the security and financial level in previous years, and the central bank has accompanied the difficult stage in fighting of another kind, represented by trying to maintain economic, financial and monetary stability.

The legacy of the past years of destruction, destruction and decline in services and infrastructure has led us to think about strengthening the development orientation of our work. Of course, the Central Bank of Iraq has a role in this matter, considering that the banking sector can mobilize the resources necessary to develop the development process, in addition to the initiatives carried out by the Central.

From here we launched financing initiatives amounting to $ 6 billion in the industrial, agricultural and housing sectors, which are perhaps the largest in the history of Iraq.

I mentioned earlier that during the fall in oil prices oil revenues fell 70%, what did the Central Bank in the light of this crisis?

There was a big challenge and a difficult situation, and the Ministry of Finance announced in early 2016 its inability to pay the salaries of employees.  Here, we immediately announced that things can be arranged, fearing the collapse of the general situation.

The central bank law allows him to buy treasury funds (a borrowing instrument) belonging to the government, and both the Rafidain and Rashid banks have joined them, so it became indirect financing, and of course there were no options.

إn addition, Iraq received some funding from the Bank and the International Monetary Fund, but the amounts were small relative to those provided by the Central Bank, we have put a high interest on remittances equivalent to those in force in the market, so that the Ministry of Finance is keen to pay, We released a portion of the reserves of banks to buy treasury transfers, and these amounts amounted to about 20 trillion dinars within two years, or about 18 billion dollars.

We see the stability of inflation at 2%, while in Iraq there is a decline in purchasing power and a rise in the rates of poverty and unemployment, how to explain this paradox?

On the one hand, there is government spending, which is mostly consumption, so there is a recovery in the commercial sector, but this activity does not generate jobs. In contrast, the productive sector is still lagging behind in this framework, while it is the job-generating field.

Therefore marginal activities are still dominant, leaving large numbers of unemployed, especially among graduates who do not find jobs suited to their specialties.  There is also a weakness in investments and projects, which accumulates unemployment rates, so the central bank as the closest sensor to the economy is trying to stimulate productive sectors.

Is the independence of the central bank in any country essential to be able to control the economic indicators, to what extent this condition is available in Iraq? Are we critical of the impact of negative fiscal policies on the monetary sector, while the Central Bank is a financial adviser to the government?

اThe truth is that there is no direct impact or intervention, but there are indirect effects, and lead to significant implications for monetary policy. In terms of financial policy subject to security and political conditions and changes more than subject to the standards of fiscal discipline that are consistent with monetary policies.

Even the Ministry of Finance, although it takes a lot of pressure into consideration, but the budget prepared by subject again to the political review in the House of Representatives (Parliament) and many of its items, so the nature of expenditure and income and deficit and type of monetary policy.

What about the high levels of corruption linked to the coverage of the central bank funding gaps left behind?

Corruption affects everything, including the economy, investment, the work environment and others. The central bank, which works better when economic and investment performance is sound, is affected. When the administrative and institutional system is effective, it eases pressure on the central bank and makes resource mobilization and movement transparent, clear and geared towards the right goals. Therefore, corruption is certainly a source of threat and impact on the overall economic situation, and therefore on the central bank, which aims to achieve economic stability.

How does the central bank deal with expanding US sanctions on Iran, especially as there are deals that need payments in dollars, specifically in terms of gas and electricity?

As for the central bank, it has a situation of adjustment to the sanctions. The dollar deal with Iran has been suspended since 2012. In practice, such transfers can not be made, since any payments in this currency will continue in the US financial system and will stop. Therefore, Iraq used to pay in currencies Other.

With the expansion of the embargo and the reservations of States, options have become limited even in settling payments in currencies other than the dollar. At the same time, there are essentialities linking Iraq with Iran, including gas and electricity.

Currently, there is an understanding with the US side to try to sort it out or get some exceptions. The talks have gone a long way and this issue may be resolved soon, probably within days.

How does Iraq approach the AML / CFT standards?

This issue is new to Iraq, as a new phenomenon and as a procedure. There have been no private entities involved in this area in the past. Since we assumed the task of managing the Central Bank, we have given great attention to this issue, through the formation of an independent department to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism and supported by the necessary administrative, financial and even independent capacities.

At the same time, we have been working on a new law, with about 70% of the gaps in this area due to the lack of legislation.  Therefore, we focused on this issue and issued the law in 2015, and prepared according to the best international standards in partnership with the relevant international organizations on this file.

Following this law, several measures have been taken in terms of issuing regulations and regulatory and regulatory rules, since this file concerns many sectors. When we started in the gray zone and during this year we came out of the last phase, the continuous follow-up phase, and we are like other countries in the application of international standards.

Is the Central Bank able to control the banks operating in all of Iraq, in terms of money laundering and terrorist financing? Do the banks really adhere to the generalizations of “Central”?

The CBI has strict control over banks and strict application of the principle of “Know Your Customer”. Frankly there is great progress in implementation, because the central bank’s procedures are strong and strict, and we have office and field control.

On the other hand, this issue is of international concern, and if the bank fails to comply with the criteria, it will therefore fail to deal with its external transactions.Today any bank that does not have foreign transactions will become a local shop.

Therefore, there is a commitment by banks and cooperation in providing technical support, capacity building, training and others.  There are also tests for workers in these sectors, in conjunction with the establishment of anti-money-laundering units in each bank and compliance units.

We note that there is a problem of confidence in the Iraqi banks by the citizens, coupled with the failure of Mali to take over a number of banks in the past years, does the Central Bank intervene to impose an increase in the capital of banks on the one hand, and compensate the depositors on the other hand?

When we take the number of troubled banks to the total banks operating in Iraq, the ratio becomes normal. There are fewer than 5 banks now out of 70 working banks.

Banks face challenges with existing general conditions, and on the other hand there are many problems associated with citizens’ commitment to banks. When there are circumstances associated with security, political and other disintegration, there is an excess of law and a lack of commitment to pay.  Most banks are new and when there are many borrowers who do not pay their installments, there is a default. There are more than 6 trillion dinars ($ 5 billion) of non-performing loans, out of 37 trillion dinars.

During the financial crisis experienced by Iraq, we had alarming indicators linked to about 10 banks, and we entered the line and put some procedures and amendments and we were able to address a number of problems and left only 3 to 4 banks need some treatments.

Was there a cash subsidy for troubled banks, or was it used for the reserve set by banks at the Central Bank to compensate the depositors?

So far we have not offered any direct monetary support, but we have paid for actions within troubled banks, and we have pressed to reduce some expenses or liquidate some assets from real estate and others, so far there has been no bankruptcy in the sector, and we avoid this move. Most of the depositors are new and “boasted” in recent years, and we do not want to hurt them.

 For example, there was a bank that was the worst among troubled banks, Dar es Salaam. We applied the idea of ​​a “bank bank”, a bank directly to the Central Bank of Iraq, which is operated for two to three years, enabling it to become ready for sale. Within this project, we turned the depositors into shareholders in the bank, which keeps their money.




Iraqi talks to hold an investment forum in Baghdad

Ministry of Commerce logo

Economy News Baghdad

The Minister of Commerce, Mohammed al-Ani, discussed Wednesday with Qatari Prime Minister and Interior Minister Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al-Thani the possibility of holding an investment forum in Baghdad.

A statement on the website of the Ministry of Commerce, read by “Economy News”, that “the Minister of Commerce, Dr. Mohammed Hashim Abdul Majid Al-Ani met with the Prime Minister of Qatar and Interior Minister Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al-Thani,” stressing the aspirations of the Iraqi side to ” A Qatari Arab to invest in Baghdad through an invitation to provide businessmen and investors to see the Qatari investment opportunities in Iraq, including the Kurdistan region.

Al-Ani said that “one of the priorities of the government program is to enter into real partnerships with the countries of the world, based on economic interests,” stressing the importance of Iraq’s accession to the Memorandum of Understanding on the facilitation of transport and transit traffic of economic and trade cooperation signed between the State of Qatar and the Republic of Turkey And Iran. ”

He added that “the issue of entry visas is one of the important topics that serve the process of investment and real economic partnership and is important to increase the volume of trade exchange, as this partnership requires more facilities and most important entry visas.”

The Qatari prime minister stressed “the development of relations between the two countries and should be a real partnership between the private and public sectors in both countries and the desire to increase the volume of trade exchange. These meetings are the cornerstone of a new beginning, especially in the field of investment in various sectors.”


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