By Ahmed Mousa Jiyad.
Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.
The following is an executive summary of my detailed assessment of the INOC Law First Amendment, currently debated by the Council of Ministers:
- The verdict by the Federal High Court-FHC regarding the appeal against INOC Law 4 of 2018 was historical and extremely significant. Briefly the Court refutes almost two-thirds articles of the said law and most of these articles have substantive importance for the good and proper implementation of the law;
- It seems that the amendments proposed by the Ministry of Oil-MoO are either premised on inaccurate understanding of FHC verdict and its implications or deliberate attempt to undermine and circumvent that verdict;
- On the other hand, opinion given by the Legal Directorate at the Council of Ministers are more mature, relevant and demonstrates good and accurate interpretation and understanding of the FHC verdict;
- It is not clear why the urgency and what prompts the Ministry to stress for promulgating the amendment of the law at the current difficult conditions (in every aspects) which the country is facing. Moreover, the justifications presented by the Ministry are hardly convincing to say the least. It is more puzzling when the MoO calls for approving the amendments without going through the due legal process. Also, its reliance on a relatively old, personal and rather confused communication from the chairman of Energy and Oil Committee of the Council of Representative diminishes the strength of the Ministry' argument;
- The disparities and divergence between the positions and opinions of Legal Directorate of the Council of Ministers and the proposed drafts of amendments by the MoO are very serious indeed with very different legal and operational implications. Hence, the "decision" by the Council of Ministers on the suggested amendments could create a "loop" that needs further and intensive efforts and probably long time to resolve and make them commensurate with the Constitution;
- The timing causes concerns as the term of the current "caretaking" government and the current Council of Representatives is relatively short as the national election is officially scheduled for June 2021. The efforts and intentions to approve the proposed amendment is, ironically, a replica of passing the ill-fated Law 4 of 2018, i.e., passing unconstitutional law in a hurry while all are preoccupied with election!! They never learned even a lesson;
- As for the amendments proposed by the Ministry of Oil they suffer from many serious flaws, ambiguities and lack of coherence and consistency; particularly when one look at the entire amended law. The details of the of the comprehensive assessment, in Arabic, of the proposed First Amendment of INOC Law is provided hereunder; it was circulated widely, emailed to all concerned high authorities and posted on many website.
Mr Jiyad is an independent development consultant, scholar and Associate with the former Centre for Global Energy Studies (CGES), London. He was formerly a senior economist with the Iraq National Oil Company and Iraq's Ministry of Oil, Chief Expert for the Council of Ministers, Director at the Ministry of Trade, and International Specialist with UN organizations in Uganda, Sudan and Jordan. He is now based in Norway (Email: mou-jiya(at)online.no, Skype ID: Ahmed Mousa Jiyad). Read more of Mr Jiyad's biography here.