$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)

Govt calls on Civil Society to fight COVID-19

By Lujain Elbaldawi for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraqi government calls on civil society to fight COVID-19

Despite the Iraqi government's intensive efforts to fight the novel coronavirus, it seems unable to accommodate the difficult circumstances due to its limited resources, not to mention the political crisis that has been plaguing it since protests erupted in October 2019.

The Iraqi government is thus calling on civil society and charities to provide aid with their resources.

Click here to read the full story.

COVID-19 in Iraq: The Virus of Social Inequality

By Maurizio Coppola for openDemocracy. Any opinions expressed are those of the author(s), and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

While the Iraqi government imposes a curfew and some cities close schools, universities and malls to limit the spread of the coronavirus, living conditions are getting more and more precarious due to lack of social and health protection.

Social protests are shrinking due to risk and fear of contagion, but tens of thousands of people continue to build popular solidarity.

The coronavirus has now reached the Middle East and North Africa and is having a serious impact on people's daily lives.

Today, the virus is also producing important changes with regard to the social protests that had begun to rock a number of states in the region in the past year.

More here.

(Source: openDemocracy)

KRG to Investigate Alleged $250m payment from Rosneft?

By John Lee.

The Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Masrour Barzani, has reportedly called for the public prosecutor to launch an investigation into allegations that Russian state oil company Rosneft paid $250 million to a consultant to secure deals in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Earlier this month, Bloomberg claimed that the oil company paid the money an unknown individual in 2017 and 2018 to become the dominant foreign player in the Kurdish oil industry.

More here.

(Source: Ekurd)

Iraq Curfew to Slow the spread of Coronavirus

The Cabinet held its regular weekly meeting in Baghdad on Tuesday under the chairmanship of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Oil, Thamir Ghadhban.

The Cabinet received a detailed briefing from the Minister of Health on the range of new measures being implemented to contain COVID-19. These measures include:

  • Declaring a curfew in Baghdad for a week starting on 17 March
  • Directing relevant authorities to fumigate and disinfect several areas and districts
  • Authorising governors to impose curfews in their provinces
  • Suspending flights for a week from 17 March
  • Increasing internet bandwith/capacity
  • Banning travel between Iraqi provinces

The Cabinet reassured the public that deliveries of food, fuel, medicine, other essentials as well as the imports of goods into Iraq, are unaffected by the curfews.

The Cabinet approved a recommendation from the Social Services Council to declare the day of the Arabeen commemoration of the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, peace be upon him, as the National Day for Volunteer Work in Iraq.

For the latest updates and guidance on the COVID-19, please visit the Ministry of Health Facebook page (in Arabic) https://www.facebook.com/MOH.GOV.IQ/

(Source: Govt of Iraq)

Iraq “likely” to get New Waiver for Iran Gas Imports

By Bryant Harris for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraq likely to continue importing Iranian natural gas under US waiver renewal

Iraqi officials have indicated that the United States is likely to renew a key Iran sanctions waiver that will allow Baghdad to continue importing Iranian natural gas to fuel its electricity needs, the AP reported.

The three-month waiver is set to expire Thursday.

Iraq relies on Iranian imports to meet the lion’s share of its electricity needs in the face of shortages that have helped provoke widespread protests in recent years.

Click here to read the full article.

(Picture credit: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

KRG “Agrees 2020 Budget Share with Baghdad”

By John Lee.

Erbil and Baghdad have reportedly reached an agreement on Erbil’s contribution to the 2020 federal budget.

According to Reuters, the state news agency INA says the deal includes a transfer of 250,000 barrels per day (bpd) from the oil-producing region to Iraq’s national budget.

Iraq’s 2020 federal budget is currently under discussion in parliament.

(Source: Reuters)

Iraq 2020 – Discovering Business

Iraq Business News is delighted to bring you a major new guide to business in Iraq.

Published by Allurentis, in association with Iraq’s National Investment Commission (NIC), Iraq 2020 – Discovering Business contains a wealth of case studies, commentary and data; it’s 68 pages of essential reading for everyone with an interest in the redevelopment of Iraq.

And as Salar Ameen, of the National Investment Commission, says in the introduction:

“We are determined to embark on real change and open up to other countries by providing every incentive to invest in Iraq … there is a firm desire to stimulate the private sector.”

We’d like to congratulate Laura Curtis (laura.curtis@allurentis.com) and all her team at Allurentis on a splendid publication.

Iraq Business News is delighted to make this guide available to readers in pdf format: Please click here to view or download the full document.

Palestine asks to Import Fuel from Iraq

By John Lee.

The Palestinian Authority has reportedly filed a formal request to Israel to allow the import of fuel from Iraq.

Palestinian Prime Minister, Mohammed Shtayyeh, told Israel’s Haaretz newspaper that although the request was made four months ago, Israel has yet to respond.

He said:

“Fuel is our biggest expense … The cheaper fuel from Iraq will reduce the pressure on our budget considerably.”

More here.

(Source: Haaretz)

Production Resumes at Nassiriyah Oil Field

By John Lee.

Iraq has resumed production at the Nassiriyah oil field on Monday, a day after protesters forced it to halt operations.

Ministry spokesman Asim Jihad said that the roads had previously become impassable for workers to get to the field, but employees returned to work after authorities cleared away protesters.

(Source: Ministry of Oil)