Iraq’s Contentious Politicking Stymies Critical Electricity Ministry Reform

Baghdad’s new cabinet is well aware that abysmal electricity services could prove its downfall. But with large-scale gains still 2-4 years away, the electricity ministry is scrambling to put politics aside and deliver a 15% improvement in powergen by this summer.

When Prime Minister Adil Abd al-Mahdi nominated career technocrats Thamir Ghadhban and Luay al-Khatteeb for the crucial oil and electricity portfolios last year ( MEES, 26 October 2018 ), he set out a clear political vision for his new government: with security issues partially abated, it was time for Iraq’s focus to shift to the mammoth task of reconstructing its infrastructure and industrial sector.

But things have not gone smoothly for Mr Abd al-Mahdi’s government. The key security, interior and justice ministers’ positions have yet to be filled. And on the technical side – particularly in the electricity ministry – legacy issues have largely held up Mr Khatteeb’s ambitions. (CONTINUED - 979 WORDS)