Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Why Reach To Others When We Can Do Better?

It has filled the newspapers and many other media sources that Iraq has a budget surplus of $79 billion . It is logical that a country would give a surplus estimate after providing the general and basic life requirements for its people. As of today, Iraqis don’t have consecutive hours of electricity, drinking water for all the population, and unemployment had reached its highest levels.

Today, the head of the Municipality of Baghdad, Sabir Al-Esawey has reached to the Shura Council of Bahrain to tell its members, “the importance of the participation of Bahraini companies to win investment projects in the country.” He continued by asking Bahraini business men and government officials who work in the field of construction services to visit the capitol, Baghdad and see the projects that the city has proposed to be done in order to rebuild the city.

This has been the reputation of the Iraqi government; its officials have always reached to foreign countries and their companies to invest the country in the same time that Iraq has an 18-30% estimate rate of unemployment in June, 2008 (CIA World Fact Book). Countries like Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE, and Saudi Arabia have been, for a long time investing in Iraq but no real results of their work have been seen on the Iraqi streets.

Not to mention that many Iraqi officials are corrupt enough to steal some of the money provided for construction project, contractors of foreign countries too end up stealing big portions of that money. As Ali Allawi, former finance minister stated for ABC News in 2006, "The current machinery of state doesn't have the control or reporting systems to allow for the kind of detailed cost controls and budgetary controls.” About $500 million were stolen from a one billion budget to equip the Iraqi army after the other half of the billion was spent on outdated military equipment. Examples of corruption of Iraqi officials and foreign companies can be endless to mention.

In order to ameliorate the Iraqi economy, the government must look into the Iraqi federal and the private sector to offer them those investment projects. That way, more jobs will be created for many of Iraqis, and more opportunities for establishments of new local companies.

Instead of wasting Iraq’s money, the government should start looking into pumping the surplus money to the Iraqi private sector, Iraq has a very well educated population and hard work is valued in its culture, Iraqis’ money should not be wasted on foreign entities.

Ali Rawaf

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