Just last week, the Iraq Ministry of Commerce announced that the Iraq government is preparing to enter the third round of negotiations for joining the World Trade Organization (WTO). The meeting was held at the Ministry of Commerce building in the International Zone. The meeting was very productive. Different department heads were in attendance, the Ministry of Planning representatives, Ministry of Health, General Authority for Customs, Iraqi Federation of Industries, Federation of Iraqi Businessmen, General Company for Trade and the Import and Expert Commercial Services. This was the pre-meeting before they meet with the WTO officials in the fall. There are still some obstacles that the Iraqi’s have to take care of first before the meeting with the WTO.
The Iraq government is prepared to make good on its debts to the Paris Club members. Yes, Iraq still owes debts and it will be settled as soon as the U.S. government has lifted the protection for the Development Fund for Iraq (DFI). The scheduled date is 22 May and it appears like everything is going according to plan. I would not be surprised if this is delayed another year. Considering this will happen when the Iraq government is still trying to come to grips with another four years of Prime Minister Nuri Maliki.
Oil exports are at 2.5 million barrels a day and all from the southern oil fields. The Kirkuk oil pipeline has been damaged by terrorist attack. The Kirkuk oil pipeline to be down in May. Iraq should have no problem in getting the oil exports above 3 million a day very soon.
Another milestone is that the Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) has introduced a banknote with enhanced features. No, this is not the “delete the zeros” type of Iraq currency. That may come in the year 2015 if we’re lucky. The CBI has a huge problem with the criminal gangs counterfeiting the Iraq dinar. Fake Iraq dinars are showing up in the 10k notes and 5k notes being that they are used the most often. The response from the CBI is to increase the security features and enhance the paper that the Iraq currency is printed on. The CBI has added features on the bank notes to assist the blind to help understand the value of the dinar currency. These new bank notes have increased the money supply in Iraq. The CBI mentioned that there would be no removing of any Iraq dinar currency during the time that they are rolling out the new specially enhanced currency. Since 2003, there has not been any Iraq banknotes removed from circulation. The CBI web site shows how the money supply has increased over the years.
The upcoming election is just a few days away being held on 30 April. There are 9,045 candidates all competing for 328 seats in the Iraq government. The forerunner for the Prime Minister position is Nuri Maliki, with the help of the Iraq Parliament Speaker, Osama al-Nujaifa who may be the next Iraq President.
The Iraq federal budget of 2014 has not even passed in the Iraq parliament, they will meet in May 2014. It appears that they will try and approve the 2014 and 2015 budgets at the same time. Or possibly just skip the 2014 budget. This is not done by any other country but Iraq.
They do as they wish, they’re not worried about protocol or policies. There is one particular guru who is always talking about policy. I always say watch what they do and forget about their policies.
The CBI has eliminated the exchange brokers who were once involved with the currency auctions. The CBI has changed the rules and now allows the currency exchange vendors to deal directly with the Central bank in the currency auctions. The CBI would like to have the exchange vendors uphold to regulations and standards just like the banking sector. You will see the US dollars flying off the shelves with this new move by the CBI. The CBI foreign reserves will climb over 100 billion in no time at all.
You can see the great milestones that Iraq has accomplished in 2014. This is all helps in the future with the Iraq dinar re-evaluation or follow suit of what other countries have done with their hyper inflated bank notes. Only time will tell. Thanks for reading.
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