August 12, 2006

An investment with long term results

By Darya Ibrahim

In announcing the passing of the new investment law, KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani said that investment is a prerequisite for progress and economic growth, and that the new law will allow the Kurdish people to benefit from the experience and expertise of international companies.

The much-anticipated investment law has been passed within the framework of the constitutional powers of the Kurdistan Region to support the government’s free market policy, promote the private sector and attract more investors. The Kurdistan National Assembly backed the draft investment law that was submitted by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), after improvements from KRG President Masoud Barzani.

On 30 July 2006, in attendance of his deputy, Omar Fatah, with a large number of traders and investors, Nechirvan Barzani, KRG Prime Minister, announced the application of the new investment law in the Kurdistan Region with the assurance that it is ready for implementation. Investment is a prerequisite for progress and continued economic growth. Foreign and national investment, with the government's efforts to regulate the working environment, is the guarantee for achieving a developed economy. Barzani explained that there is much that the government must do to revive Kurdistan’s economy, and how its growth depends, in large part, on its ability to attract foreign investment to participate in the development of Kurdistan’s economy.

“I would like to assure our people that our purpose in passing such laws is to provide better services to our citizens and to provide employment opportunities to our citizens that will add to the development of our region,” Nechirvan Barzani said. In his speech, the Prime Minister talked about the main advantages that the law offers and how direct foreign investment plays an important role in the development of the economy in three ways: Firstly, it creates jobs in the manufacturing and service sectors.

For instance, when a foreign investor comes to the Kurdistan Region and implements a project, employment opportunities are created for people. Secondly, investment brings with it new techniques and methods and provides necessary services. As Kurdistan does not have all the capabilities and skills in the region yet, the law will allow the people to benefit from the experience and expertise of international companies. This provides an opportunity for learning and training for Kurdistan’s national staff.

Thirdly, when foreign companies and investors come to the region they help people to learn modern methods and sound business practices in areas such as financial accounting and auditing systems, international banking systems, modern management techniques, and the application of current information technologies. The economic climate in Kurdistan is conducive to foreign investment. The airports in Erbil and Slemani continue to receive visitors from around the world. The security and stability of the Region remain the KRG's main focus. Efforts are underway to provide a banking system that meets international standards. Barzani assured that foreign investors are interested in investment in Kurdistan.

He said: “During the past few months in Kurdistan and overseas, I have been asked by investors and businessmen and women alike from the Middle East, Asia, Europe, the US, and Canada, who all have an interest in coming to Kurdistan to invest, abou t laws in place to regulate foreign investment.”

Before he ended his speech, the Prime Minister announced that Herish Muharram Mohammad Amin will take office as the chairman of the Investment Board in the Region with ministerial rank.

“Here on behalf of my dear brother, Omar Fatah, and myself, I warmly congratulate Mr Herish Muharram Mohammad Amin and wish him success in his mission. He has worked in different fields, and he has participated in many training courses both inside and outside the country. He has gained good experience,” Barzani said while announcing Herish Muharram.

The board in charge of the implementation of the investment law was previously known as the Investment Promotion Foundation. However, after this amendment, it has been renamed the Investment Board.

Printed with permission. From Soma