Iraq’s Ministry of Industry received a total of 111 bids in response to a privatization tender put out in the form of leasing contracts. The privatization scheme is in line with a comprehensive economic reform program announced in September by US civilian administrator Paul Bremer.
The tender, which closed on November 30, 2003, offered opportunities in the sectors of food, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, textiles, construction and engineering to foreign investors. Some 20 Arab and 14 Western or Asian countries were represented in the bids made for the 35 Iraqi factories up for grabs, reported AFP. Iraqi competitors submitted bids in coordination with foreign firms.
Setting 15 conditions for the contracts, the ministry requested that potential investors commit for a minimum of five years and pay the first half-year’s leasing price. Winners are also required to employ the same amount of workers during the entire contractual period.
Since the toppling of Saddam Hussein’s regime in March, the US-led occupying authority in Iraq has been working towards creating a competitive private sector in the country. The economic reform program allows 100 percent foreign ownership of ventures in all sectors excluding oil. Foreign companies can acquire Iraqi firms and establish joint ventures with Iraqi partners as well as open branches in the country. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )