By John Lee.

Iraq is reportedly trying to recover Iraqi funds frozen in Italy.

Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein (pictured) is reported as saying that Baghdad is attempting to recover around EUR 600 million, plus interest, that the Saddam Hussein regime paid to Italian companies to purchase weapons.

According to Basnews, the weapons were not delivered because of the 1991 embargo on the sale of arms to the country.

(Source: Basnews)

The post Iraq Seeks Recovery of Funds Frozen in Italy first appeared on Iraq Business News.
Source: Iraq News

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From the Iraqi Voices podcast. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

How Can Iraq Upgrade Its Banking Sector?

Iraqi Voices hosts Akel Al-Ansari, a commercial banking specialist, to discuss the current state of the banking sector in Iraq and what is needed to fulfill its true potential.

Click here to listen to the podcast.

The post Audio: How Can Iraq Upgrade Its Banking Sector? first appeared on Iraq Business News.
Source: Iraq News

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By John Lee.

The United Kingdom has removed Iraq from the list of high-risk third countries for the purposes of money laundering legislation.

The new listing — “Schedule 3ZA” — does not include Iraq.  This schedule replaces the list in Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/1675 of 14th July 2016 by identifying high-risk third countries with strategic deficiencies (“the CDR”).

The Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) welcomed the decision, saying:

The fact that Iraq is not included in the list of high-risk countries is positively reflected in facilitating business and entering companies between the two countries, as well as supporting financial operations between the Iraqi banking sector and the United Kingdom.

More here, here, here (Arabic) and here.

(Sources: UK Govt, Central Bank of Iraq)

The post UK Removes Iraq from List of “High-Risk Third Countries” first appeared on Iraq Business News.
Source: Iraq News

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By John Lee.

Mastercard has signed a partnership agreement with the Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) to digitize the country’s payment ecosystem in a bid to boost financial inclusion, encourage socio-economic development, mitigate the risks of a shadow economy and accelerate the advancement toward a cashless society.

According to a statement from the company, the partnership first aims to build an efficient, reliable, and secure payment ecosystem, starting with the education sector, and expanding into other sectors. “This will not only reduce the use of cash, promote the use of digital payments, and increase government revenues, but will also minimize sizeable operational and administrative inefficiencies in the education industry by reducing the overly manual processes“, it said.

Iraq’s population of 40 million people is largely cash-driven, with 99.8 percent of its $122 billion personal consumption expenditure made in cash in 20191. Despite that however, there is a large potential for digitization, as the country has a 70 percent smartphone penetration rate and 222 percent of the population fall within the young and tech savvy 15-24 years old age bracket3.

Furthermore, there is often very little choice in payment methods offered to parents and guardians with most students managing all their payments in cash. With neither parents nor students having bank accounts or using online payment services, it is critical to encourage a change in the way consumers pay school fees, since it can cause a ripple effect by impacting the entire payment ecosystem and economy.

Ms. Duha Abdul Kareem Mohammed, Director General for Payments Department  at the Central Bank of Iraq, said:

“The work that Mastercard has done in Iraq over the last few years has made a notable impact on the country’s financial service’s sector and driven greater levels of financial inclusion. At the Central Bank of Iraq, we clearly recognize that the digital economy has a vital role to play in that journey, especially in enabling formal economic growth through a new payment ecosystem that is transparent, simple, and effective. We are very much looking forward to working with Mastercard to advance Iraq’s digital transformation, beginning with the education sector.”

Khalid Elgibali, Division President MENA, Mastercard, said:

“Creating a digital payment ecosystem is critical, not only because it encourages economic development, but because there is also a demonstrable, negative relationship between cash use and the shadow economy. Our work with the Central Bank of Iraq will focus on improving overall efficiencies the economy, starting with the educational institutions by giving parents, students, and merchants a much safer, simpler, and more convenient way to pay. This is only the start however, and we look forward to expanding into other sectors at a later stage, as we work to advance the full payment ecosystem and achieve financial inclusion in Iraq.”

The Mastercard partnership with CBI is a starting point that will allow for the development of a full digital ecosystem in Iraq, which will cover key pillars including the use of Public Policy and Regulation to curb the shadow economy, a wholesale modernization of the payment ecosystem, and the digitization of key value chains. Those include government collections and disbursement and peer-to-peer and consumer spending, as well as business purchases and salary payments.

(Source: Mastercard)

The post Mastercard, CBI to Promote Digital Payments in Iraq first appeared on Iraq Business News.
Source: Iraq News

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Iraqi Govt Relaxes Monetary Policy

By John Lee.

The Iraqi government has said it is relaxing monetary policy to help businesses and people on low incomes.

Ammar Mohammed (pictured), the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Iraq (CBI), said the measures include the provision of “soft” loans up to a value of 15 million Iraqi dinars (IQD) [$10,250], with no interest and a commission of four percent, to be repaid over five years.

He also said the government has launched a 5-trillion-dinar [$3.4 billion] initiative to support businesses with very low interest loans.

(Source: Govt of Iraq)

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Source: Iraq News

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By John Lee.

The Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) has reassured the markets that there will be no further devaluation of the Iraqi dinar.

Ammar Mohammed said:

It was important to change the exchange rate before approving the budget in order to know the income and budget in dinars … to serve the interests of the Iraqi economy … it will also enhance the competitiveness of domestic products and reduce imports …

“The decision … is final, and there will be no further change in this rate.

He added that the Central Bank has sufficient foreign reserves to sustain the new exchange rate.

(Source: Govt of Iraq)

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Source: Iraq News

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Invitation to IBBC Members' Introduction Webinar







Dar Al Handasah has provided consultancy services to more than 950 clients in 60 countries, and has handled projects involving a total investment cost of over US$ 300 billion. Through these projects, we participate actively in the development of our societies. With a permanent staff of 9,850 and over 4,000 successfully completed projects, DAR has in-house expertise and experience to cover a wide range of engineering fields.

AlBilal Group was Founded in 1993 by Mr. Akeel Abdul Razzak, AlBilal Group has for more than two decades operated across diverse development sectors including Oil & Gas, Power, Water and Infrastructure. The years that followed the tenuous security, socio-political and economic dynamics in Iraq, AlBilal Group emerged as a preferred and a reliable partner to international development agencies and companies such as USDoD, USACE, Black & Veatch, and Washington International in support of the Iraq’s re-construction and development programs.

The National Bank of Iraq (NBI) was founded in 1995 as a publicly traded, private sector company, offering comprehensive banking services to individuals and businesses in Iraq. As a result of the Bank’s success and to fuel future growth, its paid up capital was increased from the initial 400 million IQD (USD 361,000) to IQD 250 billion (USD 215 million) in December 2013. In 2005, Capital Bank Jordan acquired majority shares (61.85%) in NBI, allowing the Bank to expand its business offerings, strengthen its global footprint and help promote financial inclusion across the country.

The post Invitation to IBBC Members’ Introduction Webinar first appeared on Iraq Business News.
Source: Iraq News

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Iraq passes $89bn Federal Budget Bill

By Joe Snell for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraq passes $89 billion federal budget bill

The budget confronted issues of unemployment, currency devaluation and non-oil revenues and was passed as lawmakers prepare for October’s general election; the challenge is implementation.

Click here to read the full article.

The post Iraq passes $89bn Federal Budget Bill first appeared on Iraq Business News.
Source: Iraq News

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Iraqi Parliament Approves 2021 Budget

By John Lee.

Iraq’s Parliament (House of Representatives) has approved the Federal Budget Law for 2021 on Wednesday night.

The budget is reportedly based on an oil price of $45 per barrel, and oil exports of 3.25 million barrels per day, giving a budget of 129 trillion Iraqi dinars ($89 billion) and a budget deficit of 28.7 trillion trillion Iraqi dinars ($19.79 billion).

The 2021 budget set an oil price of $45 a barrel with expected oil exports of 3.25 million barrels per day.

More here, here, and here.

(Sources: Iraqi Parliament, Bas News, Shafaq, AP)

The post Iraqi Parliament Approves 2021 Budget first appeared on Iraq Business News.
Source: Iraq News

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Fitch Upgrades Outlook on Iraq to "Stable"

By John Lee.

Fitch Ratings has revised its outlook on Iraq’s Long-Term Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) to Stable from Negative and affirmed the IDR at ‘B-‘.

More here.

(Source: Fitch)

The post Fitch Upgrades Outlook on Iraq to “Stable” first appeared on Iraq Business News.
Source: Iraq News

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