IMF: Rising 64% of Iraq 's debt and low cash reserves causes and treatments ..

March 20, 2017

The IMF announced on 18 / March / 2017, all of Iraq's debt rising from 32% to 64% of GDP in the period 2014-2016, and a slowdown in credit growth and rising non-performing loans at state banks, with low cash reserves by $ 7 billion annually.

And held the Iraqi authorities and experts of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) discussions in Amman, Jordan, during the period from 5-17 March 2017 on Article IV of the 2017 consultations, there will be a second review of the agreement to prepare the credit (SBA) with Iraq, amounting to a 36-month, which was approved by the Executive Board of the international Monetary Fund on July 7, 2016.

In this context, the International Monetary Fund to prevent its employees from traveling to Iraq and manages all of its offices in the Jordanian capital, Amman, and depends entirely on the figures and statements of the Iraqi state, issued by the Ministry of Finance, the Financial Supervisory yuan, the central bank.

It aims to prepare the credit agreement to correct the balance of public finances and the balance of the external position, and improving public financial management, while protecting social spending. And the completion of the first review under the Stand-By Agreement on 5 December 2016.

Head of the IMF mission Christian coconut confirmed in a statement links for Research and Strategic Studies Centre received a copy of which is that the Iraqi economy suffered a great damage caused by the double shock caused by the organizing Daesh attacks on the one hand and the decline in oil prices, on the other hand; which is putting pressure on the country's resources, and the occurrence of new waves of internal displacement, where the number of internally displaced more than four million people, and about 10 million poor people in need of humanitarian aid, or about 27% of the population of Iraq.

According to the Fund's statement, in 2016 there was a real growth is not an aesthetic GDP by 11% supported by a substantial increase in oil production, which benefited from previous oil investments, while the non-oil economy shrank by 8% due to conflicts and administrative corruption.

The International Monetary Fund expects to keep the activity of the Iraqi economy in 2017 is idle, because of shrinking oil output 1.5% under the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries agreement (OPEC), and the modest recovery of the non-oil sector.

The statement said the consequences and implications of lower oil prices on the Iraqi economy, including low cash reserves of 53.7 to 46.5 in 2015-2016, and the increase in large financial pressure as government deficits of 12% in 2016 arrived, due to continued weakness in oil prices, high humanitarian and security spending. "

He said the atmosphere to the high public debt from 32% to 64%, in 2014-2016, the gross domestic product, and that the balance of external product and represents the ratio of net foreign cash flows (incoming -aforeigh) to GDP, is in a relatively comfortable position, The convenient indicators of Iraq by description box!

Economists stressed that the balance of payments and budget revenues are facing a major financial crisis as a result of the sharp fall in oil prices, due to the large for adoption on oil revenues.

And that the foreign reserves of the Central Bank of Iraq covers eight months only, from imports in the light of the continuing decline of the reserves through the window of corruption in the auction sale of the dollar, and imports that are not subject to censorship, which inevitably lead to imbalances in financial stability, and threatens the collapse of the Iraqi dinar exchange rate.

But the biggest challenge is the accumulation of internal and external debt in light of the increasing economic obligations, resulting in credit growth and rising non-performing loans slowing down the state-owned banks and private banks in 2016.

The government has taken many correct financial policies mostly focus on reducing capital expenditures inefficient while protecting social spending, and provide financing, asserting that continues to peg to the US dollar, provides a key pillar of the economy.

Economist and adviser to the prime minister the appearance of Mohammed Saleh, believes that the reform policy of the government at the present time and the period ago, particularly in the retrenchment was one of the reasons for the collapse of the cash balance of the central bank, and is proven at this point, although the direct impact on the stop development and service activities.

Saleh added that we are working with the IMF on the subject of his name DSA any debt sustainability or debt sustainability energy without affecting the country's economic growth, or to engage in the risk of failures in the payment of debt service in the future, noting that despite the reassurance there are a lot of concerns in the medium term, and the requirements of reform on the current situation and that we agree on the difficulty of implementation under these current circumstances.

He said the exchange rate peg to the dollar, which is an important basic foundation, noting that growth prospects will remain in the medium term modest because of the expected oil production constant, and the stability of its investment in the face of constraints on revenues, and the recovery modest in the non-oil growth, supported by the improvement of the security situation, and the implementation of reforms structural.

The prime mission that Iraq needs more reforms to create fiscal space inclusive growth, and enhance the business environment, reduce corruption, and reform of the banking sector to support growth led by the private sector, and diversification in the economy, once launched the reconstruction process in post-regulation Daesh. "

He stressed that "high-risk; and this is the basis stems from the uncertainty surrounding the prospects for oil prices, the security situation and political uncertainty, and a citizen of administrative weakness. "

When reviewing the Iraqi private financial condition No. 16/04 Fund's statement, we find that it considered the fiscal adjustment for the period 2016-2019 correction appropriate to address the financial pressure from falling oil revenues and rising spending on humanitarian and security needs, but fiscal adjustment elements should be improved gradually, to allow spending greater investment and more efficient, it is necessary to conduct a comprehensive reform of the system of public financial management in order to improve fiscal discipline and raise the quality of spending.

The statement added that the sharing of the budget with the Kurdistan Regional Government has improved and the Kurdistan Regional Government put the federal government, including allowing them to face Daesh and oil prices attacks agreement.

And refers Press Release No. 16/321 The statement, issued by the Fund and the Iraqi private financial situation in 2016, that the Executive Board of the IMF approved the agreement credit to get ready with Iraq worth 3.831 billion and SDR (about 5.34 billion US dollars, or 230% of the share Iraq) to support the government's economic reform program, and allow the Board's approval and disbursement 455 million SDR (about 634 million US dollars) to Iraq.

Iraq had happened in July 2015 to boost amounted to 891.3 million and SDR, what Adel 1.24 billion US dollars, the time of approval, through the "rapid financing tool."

The aim of economic reform, which is supported by the standby credit agreement to meet the needs of the balance of urgent payments program, and access spending to a level consistent with the decline in world oil prices, and to ensure that debt remains within the limits can continue to carry around, and protect the poor, strengthening financial management, and to support the stability of the financial sector, and curb corruption; and implementation of these policies requires the availability of support from the international community.

According to the International Monetary Fund in the statement 16/540: "The average public finance program in 2016 and the draft 2017 budget came consistent with what is stated in the standby credit agreement, noting that it should be a gradual improvement of fiscal adjustment elements, by increasing non-oil revenues and spending cuts ongoing - including wages and pension payments - and the reform of the electricity sector, and support, and state-owned enterprises, to make way for the largest investment spending, but more effective and efficient to support growth.

And it includes support for the stability of the financial sector, strengthening the legal framework of the Central Bank of Iraq and the restructuring of state-owned banks' actions, and the abolition of exchange restrictions, and implement measures to prevent money laundering, anti-terrorism, and strengthen anti-corruption law.

The statement added: "It will be important to achieve a significant improvement in the management of public finances, re-evaluate and arrears paid after verification, and enhance cash management and spending obligations to prevent the accumulation of new arrears. "And it includes support for the stability of the financial sector, strengthening the legal framework of the Central Bank of Iraq and the restructuring of state-owned banks' actions, and the abolition of exchange restrictions, and implement measures to prevent money laundering, anti-terrorism, and strengthen anti-corruption law.

The statement said: "Implementation of the budget-sharing with the Kurdistan Regional Government to put both the Kurdistan Regional Government federal government in a better position to face the crisis facing the Iraqi economy agreement."

He suggested the International Monetary Fund during the meeting held on 18.03.2017 several proposals hearing fiscal adjustment in Iraq; including economic and administrative reform to reduce corruption, strengthen and create the right environment for business and investment, and reform of the banking sector and diversification of economic any diversification of income sources, and support-led growth sector private, and especially that the country is on the verge of the reconstruction phase of post-war Daesh.

Fund demanded the commitment to amend the Commission current Integrity Act in order to comply with the UN Convention against Corruption, and the new draft in the process of legislation and amending the Central Bank Act constitutes a strengthening of internal control of the financial operations, in line with World Bank standards and the International Monetary Fund as well as to prepare the credit of the Fund program follows the modified law of financial management, all of these amendments is to fight against corruption.

Experts point to the insistence of the centers of power in Iraq to keep the corruption and chaos, especially in the financial and administrative side, which of its manifestations:

- Inconsistencies in the preparation of the staff of the House of Representatives, as Chairman of the Finance Committee says the council MP Mohammed Halbusi number of employees 3,000 employees, while the Finance Committee Member Rahim al-Darraji says that after a thorough statistical work shows they have 1950 employees; which means that there is a big difference is 1050 employees.

- A statement to the Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and former Defense Minister Khaled al-Obeidi, confirmed the existence of 40 000 space in the armed forces.

- Allocation within the budget for 2017, an amount of 588 million US dollars for endowments, although the Waqf Diwan, who is the source of the sources of national income, to spend on beneficiaries of social welfare has high entry through money Awqaf movable and immovable property left behind and still leave her benefactors of their money after the death, in their lives, as well as with proceeds from the shrines, and shrines, mosques, according to the Ministry of Education, the construction of a model school cost is billion Iraqi dinars, the equivalent of 844,000 US dollars, the budget endowments per day is enough to build two schools templates designed in the day any 720 schools a year.

And the risks remain on the list because of the Iraqi economy, uncertainty or predict oil prices and the security situation, the political and administrative weakness in the country.

He said the envoy that "Iraqi authorities and experts of the International Monetary Fund began discussions on the second review of the agreement to prepare the credit," explaining that "discussions will continue during the coming spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in the period between April 21 to 23, 2017 in Washington, DC."

Shatha Khalil
Unit Economic Studies
Links for Research and Strategic Studies Center