TNT "Tidbits From TNT" Tuesday Morning 5-30-2023



Tishwash:  Maduro: Venezuela wants to join BRICS


Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced that Venezuela is willing to join the “BRICS” group, which includes Russia, China, India, Brazil and the Republic of South Africa.


“BRICS includes 5 powerful countries. Now BRICS is turning into a magnet for those who want another world built on peace and cooperation,” Maduro said after meeting Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.


Maduro added, “If you ask Venezuela if you want to join BRICS at a certain moment, Venezuela will say ‘Yes’. We would like to be part of BRICS and participate in building the new edifice and the new world politics.”  Link


CandyKisses:  Taif Sami discusses with a Chinese delegation the economic partnership


Baghdad – Iraq Today:


Finance Minister Taif Sami discussed with Chinese Ambassador to Baghdad Cui Wei the establishment of economic and investment partnerships between the two countries.


The ministry said in a statement that “Finance Minister Taif Sami received  the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Baghdad Cui Wei and reiterated the priorities of upgrading the level of long-term relations with the Republic of China, by creating conditions for a stable investment environment in the Iraqi market.”


According to the statement, Sami pointed to “continuing to work to consolidate joint cooperation between the two parties, and build partnerships to promote sustainable development in the sectors of finance, economy, infrastructure and investment through the effective contribution of sober Chinese companies in reconstruction projects.”


The statement continued, “The Chinese ambassador expressed the desire of his government to raise the levels of exchange and financial and trade partnership with Iraq, and everything related to contributing to the promotion of economic development between the two sides.”




Tishwash:  President of the Republic: The budget will be approved within the next few days


President Abdel Latif Jamal Rashid said today, Tuesday, that the country’s financial budget will be approved within the next few days. The media office of the President of the Republic stated, in a statement received by Al-Mutala Agency, that “Rasheed received, at the Peace Palace in Baghdad, a delegation of members of the Board of Commissioners of the Independent High Electoral Commission.”


He stressed, “the importance of the Electoral Commission’s role in organizing elections and facilitating the factors for their success,” pointing out, “the necessity of success in conducting the next electoral process, which pertains to the provincial councils.”


And he expressed, “the readiness of the presidency and the government to secure the necessary support for the success of the commission for its work,” noting that “the possibility of approving the general budget by the parliament during the next few days would overcome all the difficulties and requirements necessary for the commission’s work and the conduct of the upcoming elections.”


He pointed out, in his conversation with the members of the Council of Commissioners, that “all efforts are directed towards fair elections without problems, and this is reinforced by the safe and stable situation witnessed by the various cities, which confirms the need for great care to facilitate the elections of the provincial councils.”


The President of the Republic listened to “a detailed explanation given by the attendees, who expressed the Commission’s readiness to hold the elections at the proposed date in the middle of next December,” expressing their hope “for the speedy completion of the budget approval, because of its relevance to providing logistical requirements and facilitating all elections requirements.”  link




Tishwash:  Iraq: Bank card gangs revive dollar smuggling


There are many means of smuggling hard currency out of Iraq , including bank credit cards, and despite attempts by customs and security to limit smuggling of cards, there are large numbers of them that went out in one way or another to neighboring countries.


This method includes filling the smuggler with dozens of cards with large sums of Iraqi dinars and converting them into dollars at the official government rate (1320 dinars to the dollar) abroad, as influential parties were able to withdraw various funds from the dollar currency in neighboring countries.


Government instructions specify that a citizen may acquire a maximum amount of two thousand dollars when traveling abroad, in an attempt to limit the smuggling of US currency to neighboring countries, especially Syria and Iran.


A new method of smuggling


The Directorate of Border Crossings confirmed that using bank credit cards to smuggle dollars is a new tactic for smuggling hard currency, after its cadres tightened security measures at land border crossings and international airports to limit dollar (cash) smuggling operations out of Iraq.


The official spokesman for the Iraqi Border Crossings Directorate, Alaeddin Al-Qaisi, said that the security cadres working in the border crossings have intensified their measures to limit currency smuggling through bank credit cards, through land border crossings and airports.


Al-Qaisi explained, in a phone call to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, that the number of credit cards that were seized is more than 2,400 cards, and they include large sums of money intended for smuggling outside Iraq, indicating that the smugglers who were trying to smuggle these cards were arrested by the border crossing staff. Supporting security directorates.


And he indicated that the ports through which credit cards are smuggled are Baghdad Airport, which tops the list of ports that most control card smugglers, as 1,200 cards containing amounts amounting to more than $5 million were seized, while smuggling takes place through other ports, which are Najaf and Basra airports. In addition to the land outlets, including the Al-Qaim border crossing with Syria.


Organized crime


In confirming the dangers of smuggling hard currency out of Iraq, and devising new means for smuggling operations, the financial advisor to the Prime Minister, Mazhar Muhammad Salih, confirmed that organized crime gangs took advantage of travelers’ cards, which are a means of financing the traveler’s need for foreign currency through bank credit cards.


Salih added, in a press interview, that these gangs began using citizens’ passports in illegal ways to issue bank cards that are smuggled out of Iraq and withdraw their resources there to create black transfers or smuggle money.


Saleh considered that these methods of fraud are considered among the methods of organized crime and money laundering, which are punishable by law with the most severe penalties, adding that “these gangs affected creating turmoil in the exchange rate of the dollar.


He explained that the monetary policy pursued by the Iraqi state and the deterrent measures that are being worked on will contribute to imposing the force of law and compliance with the system, in order to reduce this dangerous phenomenon and eliminate economic crimes.


Economic risks


For his part, the economic researcher, Omar al-Halbousi, confirmed that any means to limit the smuggling of currency out of Iraq will not succeed completely, because whoever controls the financial market and most of the private banks are influential parties who know very well how to maintain their influence and financial strength through financial operations. smuggling.


Al-Halbousi explained, during his interview with Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, that there are smugglers who obtain dollars from banks at the official government rate, and exchange companies help them fill out bank credit cards, and then these cards are smuggled abroad by travelers to take advantage of the currency difference.


And he indicated that the use of bank cards (Visa and Master Card) issued by banks and electronic payment companies is one of the new methods for these operations, and it is difficult to control them by customs and border crossing police.


Regarding the size of the losses incurred by Iraq from this operation, Al-Halbousi explained that there are no fixed estimates of the amount of money smuggled through bank cards, because this method is still in the beginning of use by smugglers who resorted to it as a secondary, not a major, method of smuggling.


He added that every dollar smuggling process negatively affects the economy and the local market, which is witnessing a state of insatiable demand for dollars, which leads to raising the parallel exchange rate from the real price in the market, in addition to a rise in price inflation, which enhances the chance of an economic recession. .


He pointed out that the volume of money smuggled from Iraq since 2003 is estimated at more than 350 billion dollars, and it constitutes very heavy losses for the Iraqi rentier economy, which depends mainly on oil.


The US Treasury and the Central Bank of Iraq have previously imposed strict controls on cash transfers carried out by Iraqi banks, in an attempt to reduce money laundering and smuggling. However, smuggling operations witness a variety of ways and means of exiting the currency, which poses a great threat to the national economy.  Link