Iraq’s interim finance minister Kamel Al-Kilani has announced a comprehensive economic reform program, allowing 100 percent foreign ownership of ventures in all sectors excluding oil.
The statement was released by the US delegation to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) meetings in Dubai, reported AFP. Under the reforms, foreign companies can acquire Iraqi firms and establish joint ventures with Iraqi partners. Foreign businesses can also open branches in the country.
The reforms will "significantly advance efforts to build a free and open market economy in Iraq, promote Iraq's future economic growth and accelerate Iraq's reintegration into the international economy," said Al-Kilani.
The restructuring allows for six foreign banks to acquire up to 100 percent of local banks in the next five years. Following this timeframe, there will be no limits on foreign bank entry into the country.
Iraq will need "several tens of billions" of dollars from overseas in the next year to rebuild its infrastructure and revive its economy, and American taxpayers and foreign governments will be asked to contribute substantial sums, said top US civil administrator in Iraq, Paul Bremer in a recent interview.
To tap one source of cash, a "very intense dialogue" is underway with Iraq's governing council regarding the need to open the country to foreign investment, Bremer said. That effort includes deciding the fate of 192 state-owned enterprises. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )