Thu, Feb 11, 2016
In the name of Allah the Merciful
In the beginning I would like to congratulate our people on the occasion of the victories achieved by our heroes on the battlefield, these victories achieved today and especially to open the road between the towns of Habbaniyah and Ramadi after the liberation of this road.
Since I was honoured with the responsibility of being Prime Minister, despite the serious security challenges and Daesh occupation of one-third of the area of Iraq, we have set within our key objectives, the economic, financial and administrative reform in the forefront, in addition to the fight against corruption.
However, the pace of work was slow and did not respond to what we adopted and committed to in the Council of Representatives and to the people, and in order to make a significant change we launched three major reform packages in addressing disorder in our armed forces, and in the revitalisation of the private sector, and culminated in the wide ranging reforms package in August of 2015 that was backed by the religious authority and our people, in which were addressed the relevant points of focus in the government program, which led to implementing immediate procedures in cutting senior positions, and the abolition of a number of ministries merging others, and reducing the number of protective guards, and reduced the salaries of officials in the upper bands to a great extent, and imposing the legal controls on state properties occupied by senior officials.
It was our ambition to multiply all political efforts and the political blocs and the Council of Representatives in the work to achieve what we just mentioned, but that did not materialise in an assertive and clear manner, and we were confronted with a campaign of distortion which we did not respond to for the public interest, and that coincided with a significant collapse in oil prices in world markets in the past year as well as in this year, to fall to 85% from what it was two years before so that Iraq's revenues constitute only 15% of what it once was.
However, we thank God we were able to get our country through a year and a half of financial pressure, and the challenges of war expenses, and keep the country from collapse that was imminent according to all the financial and economic standards, while many countries were forced to declare harsh austerity plans in spite of their large assets and reserves and that Iraq does not have.
This has forced us to introduce the austerity budget for 2016 in order to avoid overloading the treasury with the burden of internal and external borrowing. We have found an opportunity to move quickly with real support for the private sector and also the partnership between the public sector and the private sector, and an agreement was reached with the Iraqi Central Bank to lend to industrial, agricultural and residential projects, as well as micro projects and skilled labour work, especially the youth who need special support to find jobs, where the financial allocations reached up to 6.5 trillion Iraqi dinars for these projects combined. An online loan request form will be launched this month, God willing, under the supervision of a supreme committee we carefully selected to ensure fairness and transparency, taking into account the private lending for university graduates and young people.
We have just finished developing model professional standards for the selection of candidates to the chairmanship of independent bodies, and deputy ministers, advisors, and directors general, and these positions will become available to those who are capable and find themselves able to assume such responsibilities.
In the area of tax and customs reform, we have identified important obligations on the institutions concerned, not just to increase non-oil revenues, but also to fight corruption and the corrupt, and provide protection and encouragement for industrial and agricultural products, and the effects of this step will be apparent in the coming days, especially in ensuring uniformity in the border crossings of the Republic of Iraq and all ports.
As for our vision for the foreseeable future, we have completed the preparation of a comprehensive study on the restructuring of ministries, where excess red tape will be removed so that we can focus on the real work in the service of citizens, with all that will be achieved by reducing excess staff requirements and thus reflect positively on the state budget.
With our commitment to protect state property and land, in the coming days after careful auditing, we will offer some to be used in the areas of investment and private sector growth, in sync with the work that is underway to restructure state-owned enterprises, so that they become profitable and productive companies with effects reflecting on improving the status of workers.
Over the next week an important decision will be announced on the allocation of residential land to those deserving from all citizens in the private and public sectors alike, in Baghdad and other provinces, and this coincides with the provision of basic services for the plots of land which are distributed to citizens where they can build integrated cities with good infrastructure.
In the framework of a clear vision of economic development it has been agreed with a number of countries to provide us with consultants, experts, professionals and specialists, to work alongside Iraqi advisers and experts in order to provide a comprehensive view of the direction of diversification of economic activities and the investment of human and natural resources properly and in a balanced way.
Now I turn to the media to assume its responsibilities in defence of the people and the country at this important stage of the history of Iraq.
Dear noble Iraqi people,
The achievement of the above, and other policies and procedures, requires the creation of a healthy working environment that addresses corruption first, and the anti-corruption council is on its way to the adoption of important decisions to address the weak performance during the last stage, and the detection of corruption in all state facilities, but we must have the use of experts and consultants and university professors to evaluate the state administration and improve its performance within the overall reform system (administrative reform, financial reform and economic).
It also requires us to reconsider the system of laws that regulate the economy, finance and management of the state through a comprehensive review that supports our vision to make the service of citizens, develop and provide suitable living conditions our key objectives and the program of this government.
Our dear people,
The ministers in the current government were chosen on the basis of the selection of the political blocs in the Council of Representatives as per the Constitution and within the political representation and the size of the political blocs in parliament, and has been approved by the Parliament on this basis, but coming from my responsibility and the higher interest, and as required for leadership of the country to safety in this stage, I call for a substantial ministerial reshuffle, to include professional figures, technocrats, and academics, and call on in this context, the Council of Representatives and all the political blocs to cooperate with us in this difficult stage.
Dear honourable Iraqis,
I say to you with complete confidence that we will overcome, with your support, this difficult period and this ordeal, and assure you that we have a clear vision and a detailed policy to emerge out of the crisis stronger than we were previously.
A tribute to the souls of the martyrs of Iraq and their sacrificing families and wounded.
A tribute to the patriotic fighters who make the victories.
A tribute to workers with integrity and sincerity for our dear homeland.
God save Iraq and its people
And from God comes success
Peace, mercy and blessings of God
Prime Minister's Media Office
9 February 2016
To read the full piece from Iraq Prime Minister's Media Office, click here.