Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Rowsch Nori Shaways is confident that Iraq will soon be one of the world’s leading attractors of investment, once the country has approved banking, investment, tax, labor and public and private sector laws. “The Iraqi economy is supported by huge and growing oil resources, but there is high unemployment and below standard infrastructure,” he conceded. “To achieve new infrastructure, international firms should be mobilized, with reasonable guarantees in place. We assure investors that reforms will be put in place,” he said in a keynote address at the Iraq Finance 2012 conference, organized by Symexco in London on 18-19 September.

Sami al-Araji, Chairman of the Iraq’s National Investment Commission, said that mobilization of investment would be supported by the government’s Infrastructure Projects Investment Package, for which funding of $37-45bn was expected to be approved by parliament shortly. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on 15 September had called on parliament to allocate $37bn for reconstruction projects including railways, ports, schools and housing. Dr Araji said the investment package would enable investors to work with Iraqi banks, although this would necessitate reform of the Iraqi banking system. (CONTINUED - 1011 WORDS)