The Iraqi National Investment is flooded with investor’s new proposals
22 July 2008 (Iraq Directory)
Investment clarified that the new agency set up by the Government is flooded with proposals worth tens of billions of dollars due to the decline of violence in recent months to its lowest level in four years.
He added in an interview this week with Reuters and a Lebanese magazine; that that who comes early will get cheap labour, support and many privileges because Iraq needs investors now and opportunities for them will be less later.
Iraq needs huge investments for reconstruction after decades of wars and sanctions.
The statistics of the United Nations show that foreign direct investment in Iraq in 2006 did not exceed 272 million dollars.
Redha said that the proposals have been made to include huge housing and tourism projects from Gulf investors in the city of Najaf, sacred to Shiites.
He added that the security situation improved more than 90 percent this year, which encouraged Iraq to invite investors.
The body which was founded in December to grant licenses of investment and set rules for the implementation of projects in Iraq. It covers all sectors from the oil and gas to insurance and banks.
Redha said that the Authority so far granted licenses worth 418 million U.S. dollars, which is partly due to the need for further documentation with respect to certain projects and also because of difficulties in land allocation.
He continued by saying that the proposals presented by a mixture of Iraqis and foreign investors who some of them had cooperated in projects. He added that investors can overcome the Commission to conclude an agreement but that will deprive them from incentives such as tax cuts of up to ten years.
Recently many businessmen delegations visited Iraq from South Korea, Japan and Germany. Redha said that the Arab Gulf States are particularly interested in investment in Iraq.
He said that the scheme of Najaf was submitted by a Kuwaiti company named Al Aquila for investment, includes the setting up of 200 thousand new housing units, schools, medical facilities and industrial island in Lake of Najaf.
The representative of the company in Kuwait informed Reuters that Al Aqila submitted a proposal regarding the project would cost several billion dollars.
Redha added that companies such as Hyundai and Kia South Koreans considering building factories in Iraq.
He said that as long as there are no obstacles to the export from Iraq to any country, it is better to Iraq aimed to manufacture and export abroad.
The Ministry of Defense has promised to protect any project obtained a license to invest.
However, there is another source of concern is the legal and regulatory framework.
But Redha stated that the investment law approved in 2006 has a priority in the application of any other law is inconsistent with making it the main guide to potential investors.
He pointed out that the law granting Iraqi investors and others many privileges. He said that the Iraqi economy was a socialist for 50 years where the government buys and sells, imports and exports everything, but now Iraq has turned into a free economy.
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