IBBC, World Bank introduce Free Training for Iraqi SMEs

You are invited to help IBBC and World Bank to introduce Iraqi SME's to FREE business training courses

WHEN: 29th June, 6pm to 8pm Iraq time

Please share this free business training initiative and the course registration with any SME in your network, however small, and encourage them to sign up.

Arabic version for sharing with your contacts here
WebEx Link: Join Using WebEx

YouTube Livestream: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxeuaarijuE

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) has been asked by the World Bank to support them in the promotion of business resilience and training courses for SME's in Iraq.

The driver behind this initiative is to give Iraqi SME's support to ride out and survive the business effects of COVID-19 pandemic and the effect it has particularly on the smaller businesses in the economy.

The support is in the form of four free business training courses that SME's can take via Webex or Youtube, provided they sign up.

As a partner to the World Bank, IBBC is contacting our Chambers of Commerce and Union contacts, and those businesses we can alert.

The courses cover four topics :

  1. Business Planning.
  2. Accessing Finance.
  3. Communicating.
  4. Thriving.

We recognise that your suppliers are most likely to be already well prepared, but if there are some who may be finding the current economic climate challenging, these courses will provide a good sense check to best practice.

Please follow this link for the WebEx how-to manual in English

Please follow this link for the WebEx how-to manual in Arabic

Please let us know if there are any further questions by contacting london@webuildiraq.org

We very much hope that your teams will be able to share these courses with your supplier and business ecology.

(Source: IBBC)

Zoom Invitation: Iraq 2020, a Country at the Crossroads

You are invited
to hear a discussion of the IBBC Advisory Council's paper on
'Iraq 2020, a country at the crossroads'

When: Monday 15th June at 2pm UK
Where: Zoom Platform

The paper published for the new Iraqi Government recommends a number of decisive changes to be implemented without delay, in order for Iraq to be able to navigate the rapidly deepening economic crisis she is facing.

This open public forum takes place in partnership with IRIS (Institute of Regional and International Studies) at AUIS (American University of Iraq, Sulaimani) and Chatham House.

Speakers include:

  • Professor Frank Gunter, Lehigh University
  • Dr Renad Mansour, Chatham House
  • Mr Ahmed Tabaqchali, IRIS at AUIS
  • Professor Mohammed Al-Uzri, University of Leicester
  • Mr Abdul Aziz Shwan Ahmed, Iraqi Government
  • Mr Hani Akkawi, CCC

Click below to read the full paper:

Iraq 2020: a country at the crossroads - English

Iraq 2020: a country at the crossroads - Arabic


Iraq Extends Curfew for another Week

Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi chaired a meeting of the Higher Committee for Health and National Safety on Saturday.

At the start of the meeting, the Prime Minister paid tribute to Iraq's health teams and security forces and thanked them for their hard work during the Covid-19 health emergency.

The Prime Minister called on all Iraqis to remain vigilant, abide by the curfew, follow official health advice and physical distancing rules, and avoid gatherings.

Following discussions, the Higher Committee for Health and National Safety decided to:

Extend the nationwide curfew until Saturday 13/06/2020

Impose a partial curfew between 6 PM and 5 AM from Sunday 14/06/2020

Impose a curfew for 24 hours a day every Thursday, Friday and Saturday

Maintain the ban on all gatherings in all their forms

Maintain the ban on travel within provinces

The Committee also decided that:

Parks, cafes, cinemas, malls, sport centres, private teaching institutes, swimming pools and shops to remain closed, except for food stores, bakeries and pharmacies which remain exempt. Restaurants will also stay closed, except for home delivery services.

(Source: Govt of Iraq)

Iraq Returns to Lockdown after Surge in Coronavirus

By Al-Monitor staff. Any opinions expressed are those of the author(s), and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraq returns to lockdown after surge in coronavirus cases

Iraq reimposed total lockdowns over the weekend following a surge in COVID-19 cases.

After meeting with his COVID-19 task force on Saturday, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi's government decided to institute a nationwide curfew until June 6, 2020.

Click here to read the full story.

Covid-19: Iraq Extends Nationwide Curfew

Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi chaired on Saturday a joint meeting of  the Higher Committee for Health and National Safety and the parliamentary Covid-19 crisis cell.

At the start of the meeting, the Prime Minister paid tribute to Iraq's health teams for being on the frontline during the current health emergency, and to Iraqi security forces for supporting Iraq's national effort to combat Covid-19.

The Prime Minister thanked Iraqi families for observing the curfew and complying with other restrictions during this very challenging period.

Following discussions, the joint meeting agreed a number of measures, including:

  • Extending the nationwide curfew in Iraq until 06/06/2020. Grocery stores, bakeries and pharmacies are exempt, provided that no more than five customers are allowed into such premises at any one time, and that both staff and customers wear face masks
  • Restaurants to remain closed, but are allowed to offer home delivery service
  • All ministries will remain closed during this period, except for the ministries of Health, Electricity, Agriculture and Water Resources, as well security ministries and municipality services
  • The wearing of face masks in public remains compulsory, with fines for those who fail to comply
  • Domestic flights remain suspended, as are flights to and from Iraq
  • The security forces are directed to strictly enforce these measures in cities and towns, and within neighbourhoods

The joint meeting underscored the importance of all citizens continuing to follow official health advice and physical distancing guidelines, and to comply with the curfew to keep themselves, their families and communities safe.

(Source: Govt of Iraq)

Iraq Considers Reopening Cement Plants

The Higher Committee for Health and National Safety held a meeting in Baghdad on Monday via video conferencing under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Adil Abd Al-Mahdi.

The Committee reviewed and evaluated current measures to combat Covid-19 and received briefings from the Ministry of Health, specialists and officials from relevant ministries.

The Prime Minister commended the high degree of coordination between relevant government departments and the crisis cells across the country, which he said contributed to enabling Iraq to make progress in combating the coronavirus pandemic.

'Odd-even' rule for vehicles:

The Higher Committee decided that, based on even and odd numbered license plates, vehicles will be allowed on roads and public highways on alternate days. This measure comes into force on Tuesday 05 May 2020.

Helping families to return home:

The Higher Committee discussed how to assist families who, because of curfew and restrictions on movements, have been unable to travel between Iraqi provinces to return to their home.

The Committee said it is considering easing some restrictions for one day only to enable these families to return to their home towns, adding that it will make an announcement on this issue soon.

Restarting Iraq's cement plants:

The Higher Committee also discussed plans to restart Iraq's cement manufacturing plants to meet the needs of the local market and to maintain price stability.

Stay at home:

The Higher Committee called on all Iraqis to continue to stay at home, to go out only when absolutely necessary, and to comply with physical distancing rules.

(Source: Govt of Iraq)

Know your Attorney!

Advertising Feature

By Racha Haydar, Founding Partner, Rights and Honors.

"It's a rough road that leads to the heights of greatness,"
Lucius Annaeus Seneca.

Thriving on challenges, my journey initially started in Lebanon in 2013, with a big dream and a big vision at heart, soon my services extended to challenging business environments across the UAE, Iraq and Lebanon, providing specialist, business focused counsel essential for clients to achieve their business goals through real world advice and market knowhow.

People often wondered, why Iraq? Although doing business in Iraq has its own set of unique and dynamic challenges, the economic potential of Iraq is enormous. Furthermore, Iraq is one of the world's wealthiest nations that brims with potential for years to come."

In 2013, my starting point was Kurdistan. Defying social expectations, as a female entrepreneur in a male-dominated industry, earning respect has been a struggle.

I realized that in order to succeed, we needed to build a robust support network.

Our network and services soon became imperative to provide a smooth operation to the investors.  While every business owner is interested to be in the market, they lack the legal structuring especially with the culture and language barriers.

The scope that was provided to customers back then, was based on their daily struggle whether in communication or in understanding the local laws. My expertise soon became a collaborating/ mediating link between local lawyers and foreign companies by simplifying their road map and lessening the burden and challenges of a new market.

Here are some useful tips shared:

  • Engage with the Right Lawyer, a well versed in local laws, ventured with professional experienced local lawyers who are constantly up to date with the amended regulations, abiding by FCPA or any other act. With the ability to Leverage Communication and speed up the process.
  • Ask for recommendations, reports and look for feasible fees.
  • Some business owners usually wait until something goes wrong to consult an attorney, its generally worthwhile to consult one before making any decision that could lead to legal ramifications, partnering with an attorney in Iraq is a must.

Iraq’s Economy: Spotlight on Oil and Gas

On April 20, 2020, IRIS held a webinar entitled Iraq's Economy: Spotlight on Oil and Gas.

The discussion focused on Iraq's economy amidst falling oil prices and additional pressures from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Speakers included IRIS Senior Fellow and AFC Iraq Fund Chief Investment Officer Ahmed Tabaqchali, Iraq Correspondent for Associated Press (AP) Samya Kullab, and MENA Programme Manager at the International Energy Agency (IEA) Ali Al-Saffar.

The discussion was moderated by IRIS Director Mac Skelton:

Iraq announces Changes to Curfew, Other Restrictions

By John Lee.

Iraq's Higher Committee for Health and National Safety held a meeting in Baghdad on Sunday via video conferencing under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Adil Abd Al-Mahdi.

The Committee decided the following:

  • From 21/04 until 22/05, the curfew hours will be between 7 PM and 6 AM Sunday-Thursday, and for 24 hours Friday- Saturday
  • Current exemptions for certain business categories including bakeries and pharmacies, and key workers such as health teams and security forces, will be maintained
  • Restrictions on public gatherings and social distancing rules remain in place
  • Schools, universities, educational institution, sport venues, malls, wedding halls, mosques and places of worship will remain closed
  • Restaurants and  cafes will remain closed, but will be permitted to provide delivery services
  • Shops and factories can resume work but only outside curfew hours
  • Government departments are permitted to resume working, but with minimum staffing which must not exceed 25% of the workforce
  • Taxis can operate, but large public transport vehicles are only permitted to carry four passengers at any one time
  • International travel in and out of Iraq remains suspended as is travel between Iraqi provinces
  • The wearing of face masks outside the home becomes compulsory, and those who do not comply with the rule will face legal action

Supporting Iraq's health workers

The Committee discussed measures to support Iraqi frontline health workers and agreed to:

  • Make a monthly bonus payment to frontline health teams who are caring for Covid-19 patients
  • Allocate, free of charge, a plot of land to all health workers who are caring for Covid-19 patients
  • Request the General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers to prepare a draft law to double the period of service of frontline health staff during the current emergency for the purpose of calculating future pensions; the law will also seek to extend the retirement age for doctors

The Committee urged all Iraqis to continue to follow health instructions and guidelines, and to only leave home when it is absolutely necessary.

For the latest Covid-19 updates, please visit:   https://www.facebook.com/MOH.GOV.IQ/

(Source: Govt of Iraq)

$500m Support to be Available via Iraq Phone App

By John Lee.

Iraq's Higher Committee for Health and National Safety met in Baghdad on Tuesday under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Adil Abd Al-Mahdi. The meeting was conducted via video conferencing.

The Committee discussed a number of policy options to support Iraqi nationals abroad who wish to return home, and how to address the logistical and health challenges involved.  It is expected that the Committee will make an announcement on this issue shortly.

Following discussions on COVID-19/coronavirus, the Committee decided to:

  • Extend the curfew throughout Iraq until Saturday 18/04/2020;
  • Allocate 600 billion dinars [$504 million] over the next two months to support nearly ten million citizens. Applying and accessing this support will be via a phone app. Further details will be announced later.

(Source: Govt of Iraq)