Tishwash: The start of the meeting of the Presidency of Parliament with the heads of political forces on the 2021 budget
The start of the meeting of the Presidency of Parliament with the heads of political forces on the 2021 budget link
Cutebwoy: Tomorrow … a parliamentary meeting to resolve the budget laws and the Federal Court
Federal Court Act 2021 budget 2021-03-01 12:47
Shafaq News / The Iraqi Parliament Speaker, Muhammad al-Halbousi announced that tomorrow, Tuesday, will be the date for a meeting between the Presidency of the Council of Representatives and the heads of political forces.
The Media Department of Parliament said in a brief statement received by Shafaq News, “The meeting will discuss the necessary laws in the corridors of the parliament, including the budget law to expedite its approval, in addition to the Federal Court law.”
The federal budget for 2021 is still circulating in the corridors of the House of Representatives despite the initiation of discussing its articles more than two months ago, as the share of the Kurdistan Region represents the most prominent obstacle, in addition to the objection of some political blocs to the decision to raise the dollar exchange rate.
Tishwash: IMF for «Morning»: Iraq is capable of achieving comprehensive development
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) described the government’s directions to reform the national economy as important, and stressed that Iraq is capable of achieving comprehensive development, provided that medium and long-term strategic plans are prepared, during a press interview for “Al Sabah” with the representative of the International Monetary Fund in Iraq Dr. Ghazi Speckat:
How does the IMF view the Iraqi economy and how it was affected by the Corona pandemic?
– The Iraqi economy suffers from deep structural imbalances and distortions due to the crises, which have been exposed during the past four decades and unsupported economic policies. At a time when the government needed to increase spending to cope with the consequences of the pandemic between health spending and support for sectors affected by closures and trade restrictions, there was a significant decline in state resources that barely covered the payroll and retirement bill in the first months of 2020. Economic activity fell by 8 percent in the non-oil sector, while the oil sector fell by 11 percent due to production cuts to comply with the OPEC+agreement. The budget deficit has also increased to 20 percent and the external sector deficit to 15 percent of GDP, and the financing of these deficits has led to a significant increase in the debt ratio and a decline in foreign exchange reserves.
What are the best ways to achieve iraq’s economic advancement?
– The Iraqi economy must not continue to rely on oil as the sole source of public finances and balance of payments, and here we emphasize the importance of diversifying the Iraqi economy and paying attention to production and giving way to the private sector, taking the initiative in leading the economy towards export and achieving economic growth, and of course, this requires the adoption of prudent policies and strategies in the fields of education, health, communications and technology, for example.
For example, the social protection network needs to be strengthened to protect the most vulnerable, and in order for the government to carry out its development tasks, financial space must be created, and this requires control of operational expenditures, particularly the payroll and retirement bill through reforms in the civil service and the pension system, as well as reforms in the electricity sector, which is a major burden on state resources.
*What are the most important ways to go beyond the trend towards borrowing?
– There is local and external indebtedness. It is natural for countries to borrow locally and/or externally to finance some projects, but it is important to take into account the ability to pay in terms of the size of the debt and its costs and its importance to the economy. The public and its ability to meet its external obligations, and to overcome debt, it is necessary to reduce the deficits in public finances and use the periods of recovery of oil markets to build oil surpluses that can be used in times of declining prices, and this avoids borrowing while reducing the economic fluctuations that prevailed in Iraq as a result of linking government spending to oil prices. Oil exporters also tend to provide oil revenues to future generations, as well as basic needs (most oil exporters have sovereign wealth funds).
How does the Imf view the government’s devaluation measures?
– The International Monetary Fund supports the devaluation of the Iraqi dinar, which helps to reduce external imbalances, maintain foreign reserves and strengthen public finances. The devaluation of the dinar helps reduce the budget deficit, improves the trade balance by stimulating exports and curbing imports.
Of course, the devaluation of the exchange rate has social consequences that need to be mitigated as much as possible. It is certain that the devaluation of the dinar will result in a rise in the overall level of prices, especially since imports in the consumer basket in Iraq constitute a high percentage, and here we emphasize the need to increase the allocation of the social safety net and expand the database of those entitled to ensure that they are adequately covered and protect the groups whose purchasing power has been affected by the reduction
*What does Article IV mean and are there any details about its content?
– Article IV consultations are consultations and discussions on economic conditions and policy priorities conducted by the IMF periodically (usually annually) with member states, which is a requirement of Article IV of the IMF Convention, which member states must abide by. Accordingly, a team of IMF economists will visit the member country to assess economic and financial developments and discuss the economic and financial policies of the governments and central banks of the state, and consultations mostly include meetings of parliamentarians, businessmen, trade unions and civil society institutions.
*From the IMF’s point of view to Iraq, is there a possibility to improve the reality of industrial and agricultural production, and what does the Fund recommend?
– There is always an opportunity to promote in any country, provided that the public finances are controlled and prudent economic policies are adopted, reducing waste, imbalance and mismanagement to allow the private sector and small and medium enterprises to play their role. Iraq’s industrial and agriculture sectors are vital sectors that must be given great importance and stimulated by modern legislation, and provided with support and financing to enable them to play their role in production, export and employment. Among other things, this requires improving the investment environment, strengthening the financial sector, providing appropriate financing, strengthening infrastructure and access to basic services such as electricity.
Is there an Iraqi prospect for comprehensive development?
– Comprehensive development is a broad word involving several medium- and long-term strategies, and Iraq can achieve this in the long term by implementing and strengthening reforms in the public finances, as well as diversifying the economy and not relying on oil as the sole source of revenue, and of course this requires reform policies and strategies in several areas,
These include health, education, social protection, the financial and banking sector, technology, communications, infrastructure, logistics and others, as well as the modernization of economic legislation, so as to attract foreign investment and contribute to the transfer of technology to Iraq, and there is no doubt that reforms take time, and are sometimes not properly implemented. Nevertheless, it is important to continue to make gradual improvements, so that citizens feel the positive effects of reforms that help to accept them. linkTags: tnt /