Iraq plans to privatise education, health and transport services - Zawya Projects

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Iraq plans to privatise education, health and transport services

Iraq plans to privatise education, health and transport services Photo Credit:REUTERS/Jamal Saidi
Government considering to foot salary bills of privatized firms for two years
14 May 2017

By Majda Muhsen

Iraq plans to open up education, health and transport sectors to private sector as part of a broader post-war economic reforms, an Iraqi government official has said.

Mudher Mohammed Saleh, Economic Advisor to the Iraqi government told Thomson Reuters Projects that the main objective of privatisation is to ensure these sectors work efficiently.

“The task of the state is to create the right environment for production,” he said adding that privatisation of companies is key to economic reforms.

Saleh said Iraq currently has about 54 state-owned enterprises, of which 40 per cent are industrial enterprises.

The official spokesman of the Iraqi Ministry of Planning Abdul-Zahra Al-Hindawi told Thomson Reuters Projects that the government is working on a 15-year economic diversification strategy led by the private sector.

“The 60-70 percent decline in oil revenues over the past three years made the government think seriously about developing alternative sectors,” he said.

A key challenge would be to preserve jobs in the sectors that are privatized, he said and added that the government is considering paying for two years salaries of the workers of such companies until they stabilize and start production.

Economic activity in the country is expected to remain muted in 2017 due to a 1.5 per cent contraction in oil production under the agreement reached by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), and only a tepid recovery of the non-oil sector, according to a statement issued by the International Monetary Fund in March.

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