Sileman: Baghdad should stay away from the government-controlled economy
Release date: 2018/3/29 23:03 • 213 times read
US Ambassador to Iraq Douglas Seelman said on Thursday that Baghdad should move away from the government-controlled economy and attract the private sector, especially in the energy field.
"Iraq needs rapid changes in energy and oil in particular, because it is important in the economy and needs new investments to employ the largest number of workers because they are important in reconstruction," Sileman said in a speech at the Fourth Iraq Energy Forum.
"Oil dominates Iraq's economy, but it provides very few jobs. Oil accounts for 85 percent of government revenues and 65 percent of GDP, but it contributes only about 1 percent of the workforce."
He explained that "Iraq needs new important investments for the development of new oil and gas fields and to stop the natural decline in the existing fields, and that Iraq should choose either to spend the resources of the public sector scarce to increase oil and gas production or to rebuild the country, "He said.
"Iraq can increase its oil production, rebuild the country and create jobs, but only if it allows and attracts private sector investment through the actual signing of profitable investment contracts, through modernizing controls and contracting procedures and through the actual signing of lucrative and profitable investment and purchase contracts with Private investors".
"There are companies that know at least four US companies - ready to build infrastructure, produce oil and gas, recover gas associated with oil extraction, or convert sunlight into electric power without any investment from the government of Iraq, not even a single dinar. , But not one of them so far managed to complete the contract with the government."
"Last summer, Iraq produced 15,000 megawatts of electricity for the first time, but fuel, government support for wages and low collection rates cost the government of Iraq $8 billion a year, and $8 billion is equivalent to about 10 percent of the budget," Sileman said. the government".
He asked about the investment and reconstruction projects that could have been accomplished had the budget been 10% larger.
"The energy sector is vital for Iraq's future, but Iraq's leaders must learn to allow private sector capital to be invested and attracted in the hydrocarbon industry, as is the case with all other sectors of the economy," he said.
By leveraging the power of private sector companies, they can develop the economy, create jobs, diversify public sector investments and reduce the risks of the oil-based economy.
He reiterated that "the United States stands ready to help the government implement reform and to encourage the contribution of US companies to the reconstruction and development of a new, modern and prosperous Iraq."