KTFA (MilitiaMan, Don961) & Samson)

  In KTFA

Godson:  The 10th of THIS month is approaching Delta (today) hope we see something good… Imo

Cleitus:  FedNow…, on the launch pad.  Firing the engines will be interesting to watch!

Samson:  The House of Representatives has finished reading two laws and addresses an oral question to the Finance and Planning Ministers

09/08/2020 19:04:07

The House of Representatives in its third session of the fourth parliamentary session of the third legislative year of the first legislative term, which was held under the chairmanship of Muhammad al-Halbousi, Speaker of the Council, ended on Tuesday the first reading of two laws, while he was briefed on the opinion The Ministers of Finance and Planning, after directing an oral question to them about the economic reform paper included in the domestic and foreign borrowing law.

In turn, the Minister of Planning indicated that there are 6,250 projects under construction that need to provide 126 trillion dinars to complete them, and this large number of projects caused the failure to include any new project in the new budget law, explaining that the delay in completing the projects led to the failure to provide services to citizens, including the presence of 42 residential complexes Unaccomplished.

It needs to be recounted accurately in order to begin its implementation, in addition to the necessity to devise a real reform plan to address the delay in implementing projects. Commenting on the two ministers’ answer, MP Muhammad al-Darraji stressed the need to fully and not partially implement the legislated law, asking about the value of internal and external borrowing and the size of what was allocated to pay salaries or in the investment sector, as well as knowing the value of the exchange rate specified in the next budget.

Minister Allawi pointed out that there are three types of loans, including commercial that the Iraqi government has moved away from, borrowing from governments and the third by borrowing from international development institutions such as the World Bank and the Arab Fund for the purpose of investment, especially those related to the requirements of improving the electricity sector by activating previous economic agreements with my company. Siemens and General Electric, stressing the importance of reviewing the exchange rate so that the Iraqi economy enters the circle of competition with the interest of the International Monetary Fund in the issue of the exchange rate, noting that the ministry received an amount of 15 trillion dinars in full to meet the needs of salaries.

After that, it was decided to adjourn the session to next Thursday 9/10/2020.   LINK

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MilitiaMan:  The picture they are painting (imo) is they are implementing the real reform plan.

They are even going so far as to tell us that they will need the value of the exchange rate for the next budget.

They have not resolved the next budget yet, that I am aware of? The next budget on the table is the 2020 budget leading into the 2021, imo..

They in the above tell us they have a session for tomorrow. (Thursday the 10th)

Same day that PM Kadhimi is to be in the Kurds back yard for a meeting on important issues, oil and gas, customs and borders, etc..

Same day noted below that Al- Hakim is having think tanks gearing to talk about rebuilding the new social contract and rebuilding the state.

Lets still keep in mind Kadimi, has a special session for the start of next week to approve the 2020 budget. Which is  looking to be the next one on the table. imo..

Tomorrows (Thursdays)  session maybe be a very powerful one that could change the playing field.

We shall see if it is a “September to Remember ” but, it sure looks like a synchronization is in play now not in 2021, as they say “next”  and that is now real close.. imo ~ MM

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Godlover:  Something everyone should consider imo. First off, I truly don’t want to get people down with my opinions, I just like dealing in realities imo. Better to be prepared for a longer wait, then to be brought down when something does not materialize when you had hoped for. So here are some things to consider.First off…. “next” budget is likely imo referring to the 2021 budget. If I were to say “next” Friday, most people would think of the following Friday….otherwise I would say this Friday. I would assume they would also say this budget…not the next budget imo.

MilitiaMan:  I disagree that the next budget is the 2021. They haven’t’ completed the 2020 budget yet. Hence the wording next, imo. The next thing is that there is the 2019 FMLA that always seems to be overlooked.

“FMLA” is the 2019 Financial Management Law Amendment that may in fact be needed for the 2020 or next which is after the 2019.. Just like in the past after the 2014 budget came the 2015 budget.. See how that works? We haven’t finished the next budget.

If I am not mistaken they have been operating under the 1/12th budget regime based off the 2019 numbers. So the view I take and as do many others is the next budget to be voted on is the 2020 per same articles.

Yes the 2021 budget will be different than the 2020. Specifically it will be different in that it will be for 3 years.
The Kurds have had a temp agreement and they are also going to have a different budget to come, as it won’t be based off 15%. It will be a flat rate and half of the taxes and tariffs at the borders.

So the above examples of my view are supported in the articles with highlights. The emphasis tends to be to the specific wording that supports that view. Whether they are or not accurate at times is always to be determined. Just as my view is now.

I too like people to be prepared. Armed with hope and the best data we can garner from the news hounds tenacious work here at KTFA. All is in our opinions, anyway. ~ MM

Popeye7:  Thank you MM for your breakdown, and analysis once again… I certainly agree with your assessment of this occurring sooner rather than later… There seems to be a particular day that the powers that be have in mind Imo… Exciting for sure… Thanks again…

Samson:  Parliamentary Finance discloses the purpose of approving the 2020 budget

10th September, 2020

The Parliamentary Finance Committee announced, on Thursday, the purpose of approving the country’s financial budget for the current year 2020, despite the elapse of eight months

Committee reporter Ahmed Al-Saffar said, “The general budget is considered special considering that there are eight months in which actual spending has passed, and that the government, by approving the budget, is trying to bypass the principle of spending 1/12 to bypass the health situation and other things. He added that “the purpose of approving the general budget is to establish what was spent in the previous eight months, and to approve spending for the remaining four months of the current year

Regarding the details of the draft budget, he stressed that he was not aware of its details, given that it is in the cabinet and not sent to parliament, indicating that “if it is approved next week and sent to parliament, it will be discussed by the Parliamentary Finance Committee before it is presented for reading on the council’s agenda

Iraq did not approve the financial budget due to the resignation of the previous government at the beginning of this year under the weight of unprecedented popular protests, and then the outbreak of the Corona epidemic in the country, which caused a financial crisis that resulted from a significant decline in oil prices. Iraq relies on oil revenues to finance up to 95 percent of state expenditures LINK

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Samson:  Economic Reform in Iraq: The Need for Focus and Persistence

4th September, 2020

Iraq is facing the biggest challenge to its economy since 2003. Even during the vicious and costly conflict with ISIS, when oil prices plummeted and the government struggled to finance the war, the economic shock did not appear to be as insurmountable as it does today. The COVID-19 epidemic in Iraq has shown no signs of abating and the IMF predicts that Iraq’s economy will contract by 4.7% in 2020. The most immediate challenge for the government is finding enough money to cover the country’s basic running costs including schools, hospitals, public salaries and social welfare.

At this critical juncture, the natural inclination would be to ask, what does Iraq need to do to get through this crisis? But in fact a far more difficult question to answer is, how does Iraq do what is required to get through this crisis? Iraqi policymakers need little help in diagnosing the flaws that underpin the economy. Nor do they require much assistance in identifying reform measures that would steer the country towards a more sustainable path. Iraq has no shortage of strategic plans, roadmaps and policy papers that outline in detail all the key sectors that need to be addressed. Partly because of the strong presence of the international community in Baghdad, much of Iraq’s policymaking infrastructure is heavily influenced by the advisory arms of the World Bank and IMF, in addition to technical assistance from the United Nations and diplomatic missions. Every area of economic reform has been discussed, debated and evaluated over the years, from banking sector reform, to public sector restructuring, to private sector development.

Where the real shortfall lies is in implementation. Even the best strategic plans cannot be translated into tangible results on the ground without a clear-eyed, systematic approach from the government. Assuming that political will exists at the highest levels of executive authority, it is important to consider the underlying systems and structures that largely shape what is and isn’t possible to undertake.

The government of Mustafa Al-Kadhimi inherited the fiscal crisis from its predecessor. Economic advisors in both administrations advocated similar thinking about how to deal with inflated pubic spending and address the immediate balance of payments crisis. Given that public sector salaries and pensions represent nearly half of all government spending, it was seen as inevitable that if the government wanted to rein in spending, it needed to make cuts in public salaries.

But like any country in the world, cutting salaries is easier said than done because of the unavoidable political backlash. This approach was made even more difficult because Al-Kadhimi’s government lacks a political base in parliament that could support its policy preferences. The initial plan was to target allowances, since government salaries are typically composed of a base salary known as ‘al-ratib al-ismi’, and allowances, known as ‘mukhasasat’, that are determined by factors such as educational attainment, the number of dependents, and danger pay for sensitive ministries. According to some estimates, base salary payments amount to some $12 billion annually, whereas allowances represent $23 billion of the government budget. By targeting allowances, it was thought that significant savings could be made that would ease pressure on the state treasury.

But there was no appetite in parliament to support such a move and Al-Kadhimi’s government quickly caved in to pressures to scrap the plan. The government’s plan B was to apply income tax on allowances and pensions, something that had not been enforced for over a decade. Although significantly diminished compared to the original plan, it was estimated that the added revenue would generate at least $300 million monthly. But this plan also spectacularly failed. Pensions are typically paid towards the start of each month, whereas salaries are disbursed towards the end of the month. The Al-Kadhimi government applied the tax on June pensions but the public backlash was so great that Al-Kadhimi was forced to backtrack, even insisting that the cuts in pensions were not due to a new policy but rather a temporary shortfall in cash. Pensioners were then reimbursed days later.

Since then, the government appears to have ditched any attempt to rein in spending on public salaries, pursuing other means of alternative revenue generation, namely related to import customs and tariffs. It is estimated that customs revenue alone is worth in the region of $10 billion annually, but only a small fraction of that actually finds its way into the state treasury because of massive corruption at border crossings. Al-Kadhimi launched a campaign to secure these crossings but the impact has so far been inconclusive.

This has left the government with the only other fallback option: borrowing. After finally getting the green light from parliament, the government plans to borrow up to $13 billion domestically, mostly from state-owned banks, and up to $5 billion from international markets. This approach effectively signals the government’s failure, at least for now, to enact any significant cost-saving measures that would ease the fiscal burden.

Resistance from parliament and the general public is inescapable, but that does not mean that the government should resign itself to defeat. Any approach to pushing through reforms requires two key ingredients: focus and persistence. This is where the Al-Kadhimi government, like its predecessors, has fallen short. Rather than maintaining the public’s focus on the dire state of the economy and reinforcing messages that demonstrate why cuts are essential, Al-Kadhimi has sought to pursue an ambitious and broad array of issues, jumping from one issue to another. By biting off more than it can chew, the government has left little political capital for dealing with the economic crisis.

After coming into office, Al-Kadhimi pledged to prepare a white paper that would outline the government’s comprehensive plan for addressing Iraq’s economic woes. The expected launch of this paper in September represents a second chance for the government to push through meaningful reforms. But to demonstrate any degree of success, it will need to stay focused and persist in its efforts to translate the white paper into actionable goals.   LINK

Don961:  A member of Parliamentary Integrity reveals the imminent launch of a new mechanism to combat corruption in Iraq

402 Policy 09/09/2020 21:08   Baghdad Today – Baghdad

A member of the Parliamentary Integrity Committee, Representative Yousef Al-Kalabi revealed, on Wednesday (September 9, 2020), that a new mechanism to combat financial corruption in Iraq is imminent.

In an interview with (Baghdad Today), Al-Kalabi said, “There are continuous meetings with the prime minister to come up with a new anti-corruption mechanism in Iraq that includes all the agencies and institutions concerned with combating corruption that is spreading in many ministries and institutions.”

Al-Kalabi added, “It is not possible to determine the amount of money that has been devoured by corruption in Iraq during the past years, but corruption are two types of theft, waste, and stalled projects. It is also considered another type of corruption,” noting that “the mechanism will include tools, procedures, statistics and methods of implementation.”

Last Tuesday, Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi announced, in a televised speech, the formation of a supreme committee to investigate major corruption and exceptional crimes cases, indicating that this committee linked to the office of the Prime Minister and Commander-in-Chief of the forces will grant all the powers required to achieve the prestige of law in society. And restore the rights of the state and the citizen from the corrupt and aggressors.

Member of the Parliament’s Legal Committee, Hassan Fadam, says that “the parliament supports the formation of a supreme committee to combat rampant corruption in all parts of the state,” stressing that “the prime minister will grant this committee broad powers to pursue the large corruption files in the Integrity Commission.”

On the thirteenth of last August, press sources revealed a “government plan to chase the corrupt and prevent them from traveling by activating hundreds of arrest warrants issued in previous periods against many corrupt persons involved in wasting public money.”

Fadam added that “the Integrity Commission owns tens of thousands of corruption files in various matters, some of which are administrative offenses related to employee violations.”

The volume of corruption files stored on the shelves of the Integrity Commission is estimated at about (14) thousand corruption files, according to a previous statement by the “Parliamentary Integrity Committee”, stressing that “most of these files are suspended and have not been sent to the judiciary due to red tape, disagreements and the lack of completion of the investigation.”

Over the past years, successive Iraqi governments have failed to curb corruption and waste of public money, despite the formation of several governmental and parliamentary committees to reduce them, the last of which was the formation of the former government of Adel Abdul Mahdi, the Supreme Council for Combating Corruption, which held several meetings, but without any results.

And the deputy from Babil Governorate continues his speech, saying that “the Prime Minister has not announced the mechanism and nature of this committee, nor its head and the names of its members, which will be assigned to investigate the files of corruption.”

In turn, Taha Al-Dafeh, a member of the Parliamentary Integrity Committee, called for “the higher committee concerned with investigating large corruption files to overcome the previous problems, errors and obstacles that occurred with the Supreme Council for Combating Corruption, and that this committee also has the ability and courage to issue decisions against large corruption files.” .

The regulatory authorities estimate the amount of money that Iraq has lost as a result of corruption operations at more than 450 billion dollars, out of the 900 billion dollars that Iraq obtained from oil sales during the past twelve years. “Because of this waste of public money and thefts, Iraq lost a lot of its money,” he added, in a press statement, pointing out that “what we hope from this governmental committee will be its great powers to deal with errors and corruption processes.”

Iraq topped the lists of corruption in the world after it came in sixth place in the Arab world and thirteenth in the world in the most corrupt countries in the report issued by Transparency International last year, after Denmark and New Zealand ranked first and second, respectively, with the least corrupt countries in the world and the most transparent.

“The names of the head and members of the new governmental committee concerned with prosecuting the most corrupt people are unknown to us until this moment,” the member of the victory coalition points out, believing that “these committees require the presence of judges who have knowledge and knowledge of investigations and following up on corruption files.”

Earlier, the Integrity Commission announced the issuance of arrest warrants against 86 high-ranking officials, including ministers and deputies, on charges related to corruption, including (9) arrest warrants and (81) recruitment orders. ” They are of their rank, (3) former members of Parliament, (6) current and former undersecretaries, in addition to (5) former governors, (20) current and former directors, and (40) members of dissolved provincial councils.

The deputy from Baghdad governorate believes that this governmental committee needs to take “courageous and bold decisions” to arrest the right of “whales.” He emphasized that “many of the arrest warrants issued against a number of ministers, officials and general managers are suspended and inactive.”  LINK

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Don961:  Clarification from Tariq Harb: The land crossing with Saudi Arabia has become legal and official

2020.09.09 – 21:22  Baghdad – People

The Iraqi legal expert, Tariq Harb, indicated that the Arar land port with Saudi Arabia acquired the legal and official characteristics.

Harb said in a statement received by “People”, a copy of which (September 9, 2020), that “in the official newspaper, Al-Waqi’a newspaper, with its number 4,595 on 7/9/2020, the Arar port between Iraq and Saudi Arabia has become an official outlet for trade exchange between the two countries, that is, the passage of goods and travelers to Iraq and the passage of goods and travelers to Saudi Arabia. ”

He added, “What was media and political has transformed into legal and realistic, as the presidential decree No. 2 of 2020 issued by the Ministry of Finance was published in accordance with the authority conferred on it according to the Gammar Law No. 23 of 1984, which included the establishment of a government office called the Marj Arar border office on the Iraqi borders. Saudi Arabia takes place in the commercial exchange of goods and the entry and departure of travelers. ”

He continued, “This decision included its implementation from the date of its publication in the official gazette, and in fact the decision was published in the newspaper, as we mentioned.”   LINK

MilitiaMan:  Another well timed border opening. All apart of the process.. Very welcomed indeed! The new mechanisms are to be in place to not just fight corruption, but also facilitate trade at the borders with transparency.. imop ~ MM

Don961:  America proposes twinning Erbil with one of its states

2020-09-09 13:51

 Shafaq News / The new American Consul in Erbil, Rob Waller, suggested today, Wednesday, twinning the capital of Kurdistan Region with the US state of Nashville, which includes a large Kurdish community.

A statement by Erbil governorate received by Shafaq News stated that Governor Firsat Sofi held a meeting with the new American Consul in Erbil, Rob Waller, through the (video conference) television department, and discussed with him bilateral relations and a number of issues of common interest.

The statement stated that at the beginning of the meeting and after discussing the situation in Iraq and the region and the relations between America and the Kurdistan Region, Waller referred to the importance of strengthening relations with the Kurdistan Region and city administrations, especially Erbil, the capital, expressing his country’s readiness to help the economy flourish and investment in the fields of industry, energy, agriculture and tourism.

And he indicated that there are discussions that a number of large American companies will come to the Kurdistan Region in order to carry out work and implement various projects in Erbil.

The statement added that the US Consul, with the aim of further rapprochement and consolidation of relations between his country and Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Region, proposed twinning between the US state of Nashville and Erbil, adding that Waller expressed his pleasure with the progress of work in building the American Consulate in Erbil, “after completing 30 percent of the project and in the stage Next, we need the help of your teams to deliver services. ”

For his part, the Governor of Erbil, Firs Sofi, affirmed his full readiness to cooperate and coordinate to complete the project on time.

On the twinning proposal between the state of Nashville and the governorate of Erbil, Sophie expressed the approval of the province, declaring that this proposal is a great step in advancing friendship and consolidating relations between the Kurdistan Region and America.

Regarding bringing in major companies and American investors to Erbil, the governor announced that he welcomes this step warmly and that the doors are open for all who want to invest in the fields of industry, energy, agriculture and tourism in Erbil, pointing out that he sees great importance for American investors and companies to participate in the reconstruction of Erbil and the Kurdistan Region, expressing On the willingness to provide all kinds of facilities and cooperation to implement their projects.    LINK