As of 27 May 2009 there is no evidence of a pending RV. The Iraq government budget 2009 has a 20 Billion deficit and to overcome all of this the government is taking a loan from the IMF 7 billion and also allowing the KRG government to export oil to Turkey.
The Iraqi government ministry officials are still attempting to get the following items passed in the Iraq parliament; Political Reform Document, National Reconciliation, the future of Iraq, General Amnesty Law, Implementation of Laws, and amendment to the Iraq Constitution. The government is always trying to solve the issues of the Oil and Gas law and hopefully by the end of the year or early next will we see this issue resolved however I would’nt count on it. The next round of tenders for the Iraq oil fields is next month in June.
There are some parliament members that have been accused of criminal acts however, cannot be brought to justice because they have immunity. 70 Parliament members have filed a request to have the immunity removed from several parliament members. The Dawa Party is demanding the removal of immunity from several members of the Accord Front. These members have arrest warrants that have not been served due to the immunity law.
Just recently PM Maliki has banned all alcohol in restaurants and hotels and owners of such establishments must sign document that the owner is fully responsible and if caught the hotel or Restaurant will be closed.
Several liquor stores have opened up in the area since the security has improved. This reminds me of the strict laws of Saudi Arabia and maybe Iraq is heading in that direction. We will have to wait and see.
The cabinet reshuffle will include more than seven sovereign and service ministries, such as the Oil, Finance, Trade, transportation, and Higher education ministries.
The Agriculture ministry has already resigned also in the cross hairs for reshuffle is the Woman’s ministry as she has resigned earlier, then she later changed her mind and Maliki refused to accept her back into the Cabinet. She not allowed to attend any meetings with the Council of Ministry’s.
Today in Baghdad there was a mini meeting with Iraq government officials to discuss Iraq’s relations with other neighboring countries, national reconciliation, and the U.N. role. Also remember I’ve mentioned that there will be a major meeting in Baghdad in October with the International Compact. The meeting in October will discuss of getting Iraq from Chapter Seven and PM Maliki wants to know why do some countries want to keep Iraq in Chapter Seven.
When PM Maliki was at the Iraq Investment Conference in London one of the issues that was brought up about Foreign Investment in Iraq was not able to own land inside Iraq. You can own the building but not the parcel of land that the building sits on. PM Maliki has stated that he will work on amending the Iraq Investment law to read that Foreigners are allowed to own land in Iraq. When, your guess is good as mine. This is one of the main obstacles for foreign investments in Iraq.
Council of Representatives Oil and Gas Committee recorder, Jabir Khalifah Jabir, has been pressuring the Iraq Parliament Speaker to set a date for the questioning of the Oil Minister Husayn al-Shahristani. The committee had presented an official request to the Parliament Speakership after collecting the signatures required to set this in motion.
We will just have to see what happens next as I do believe the Oil Minister will either resign beforehand or actually go through with the questioning in front of the Iraqi Parliament. We will know something within the next week before PM Maliki goes to Washington D.C..
The Interior Ministry appears to be putting pressure on the Ministry of Oil operations as they just reported a fake company operating in Basrah by four members of a company called Badr al-Janub and have been accused allegedly smuggling oil worth 4 billion dollars. The fake company had signed oil contracts with the Oil Ministry to smuggle 92 oil tanks. With this in the news and the Parliament wanting to question the Oil Ministry does not look good. We will have to see what other news comes out regarding all the ministries as I am sure everyone is posturing and getting ready for the inevitable ax that PM Maliki said he would do concerning the reshuffle of the cabinet.
Speaking of Ministries and how they operate which is poorly let me give you what one Parliament member says about the Iraqi government.
“I agree with you, because there is a flaw. There is a flaw in the administrative system of the Iraqi state. When will it develop? It has been rife with bureaucracy and routine for the past 30 years. I agree with you because it is an undeniable fact. I cannot deny that our ministries are still using carbon copy. You still need 100 signatures on government documents. A person has to go to 10 government departments collecting signatures before he gets an approval. What for, you do not know. Why is this the situation?” – Al-Dabbagh Parliament member, Iraq Council of Representatives.
Now after reading this statement from Al-Dabbagh, now you have an idea why everything in Iraq government takes so long to get accomplished.
The Iraq Finance Ministry has announced that he would like to withdraw 5 billion usd from the Central Bank of Iraq to cover the shortfall in the Iraq 2009 budget. Now you have the Iraq Parliament wants to meet with both Finance Minister Bayan Jabr and the Central Bank Director Dr. Sinan al-Shebebi. The Parliament would like to know the reasons behind this from Finance Minister and CBI. If the CBI does give the funds to the MoF this would be dangerous to the Iraqi Dinar currency and effect it’s currency value. I think this will happen because where else is Iraq going to get the funds to cover the budget shortfall.
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