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Iraq’s gateway for business
The relatively secure Kurdistan region is a place where businessmen need not fear for their lives, or their investments.
April 18, 2010 3:32 by Tanya Goudsouzian
“At the moment we need to have foreign partners on many of our projects, because we don’t have the expertise locally. But by having an agreement that the partner must train our staff, we are increasing the local skill level and eventually will not need foreign partners,” he said. “Local engineers are very good at the structural and form work, it is in the finish that they are weak. The region was in isolation since 1991 and many of them don’t know how to take advantage of new materials for a better finish.”
Critics have also lambasted the absence of a long-term plan and coordination among the various ministries of the Kurdistan Regional Government, which has slowed down progress and led to charges of uneven development. According to the minister of planning and reconstruction for the Kurdistan Regional Government, Kamran Ahmed Abdulla, much hinges on the master plan that he has commissioned to improve the infrastructure in the Kurdish region, due by June.
“We are currently surveying Kurdistan’s infrastructure, so we can evaluate the true needs of the region. We can then develop a plan to improve and maintain our infrastructure. Part of the plan will also be to identify areas of priority, such as the major land borders with Iran and Turkey, to facilitate further trade,” he said. “We are also hoping that the Kurdistan budget will be passed soon, the sooner it passes the sooner we can see exactly what we have to spend and distribute it fairly among the three governorates of Kurdistan.”
Abdulla’s intention is to implement the master plan over a period of five years, but he laments that the limited budget may pose a hindrance.
“I am aware that the budget will be limited and that to implement the master plan to bring our infrastructure into the 21st century, it will require billions,” he said, adding that he may have to seek other forms of funding, such as private investment or even a loan.
Additional reporting by Lara Fatah Erbil in Iraq