Aug 13 2015

Iraq to endorse new investment law next week


The legislation has been seen as a positive move towards raising the country's attractiveness among foreign investors.
Iraq's parliament is expected to endorse in the coming week the new investment law in the hope of supporting the private sector, attracting more foreign investments, as well as ending corruption and red tape.

The new law will include amendments to Law No. 2 of 2010, which amended Law No. 13 of 2006. The move comes as thousands of Iraqis took to the streets over the past days demanding political and economic reforms in the country.

"The old law was not enough and it did not handle problems that the investment sector is facing in Iraq," said MP Najeeba Najeeb, member of the Parliamentary Finance Committee. "We held a number of meetings and conferences with local and foreign experts, and we have arrived at a conclusion that new legal amendments should be made."

Najeeb pointed out that the old investment law provided more power to the central government, while also setting obstacles for foreign investors to acquire land in the country.

"The amendments will decentralize the decision-making authority and streamline procedures so as to allow investors to acquire lands within 15 days," she added.

Shaker Al Zameli, head of the Baghdad Investment Commission, said the previous legislation was not entirely repressive, as it gave investors the right to obtain project permits within 45 days and offered a three-year tax exemption. However, he admitted that administrative corruption and bureaucracy have hindered the law's implementation.

"Amendments in the new law are a step in the right direction, especially since these will give investors the right to refer to international arbitration if necessary. The old law lacked this provision," Al Zameli said.

He also revealed that the number of investment projects in Iraq since 2010 reached 320, valued at about USD 15 billion.

MP Mithaq Al Hamidi, another member of the Parliamentary Finance Committee, said the existing law contains several impediments to attracting investments. She welcomed the new law's endorsement next week, "along with other political and legislative reforms".

http://www.zawya.com/story/Iraq_to_e...0150813043706/