Iraq preparing study on post-war damage to infrastructure - Zawya Projects

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Iraq preparing study on post-war damage to infrastructure

Iraq preparing study on post-war damage to infrastructure Photo Credit:Reuters/Erik de Castro
Bridges and airport listed as top priority for reconstruction
16 March 2017

By Megha Merani

Iraq’s transport ministry will submit a report on post-war damage to infrastructure to the government next month in order to secure funding for priority reconstruction projects in the country, a senior official said.

Iraq’s infrastructure has become crippled by years of war and lack of investment.

“We (transport ministry) are doing the study and will set priorities and the approximate estimated cost for each one,” Salam Salloom, director general of Iraq Republic Railways, told Zawya Projects on the sidelines of the Middle East Rail conference in Dubai last week.

The study will be submitted to the planning ministry and other state departments next month for consideration, he said, adding that it was too early to specify the amount of funding required since cost estimates were raw and could change considerably because assessors did not have access to some locations.

Salloom said he expected reconstruction for priority projects, such as Mosul airport and the railway network that supports the country’s oil and industrial sector, would likely begin before the end of the year.

Iraq, OPEC’s second largest oil producer, needs its rail networks to transport crude products and freight.

“I think they will start rebuilding bridges and Mosul Airport this year. I think they need Mosul Airport urgently. And for railways, the number one (priority) is the bridges. The second would be some stations, not all… so it’s step by step.”

Iraqi government forces in October launched an offensive to retake Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, from Islamic State militants. United States-backed Iraqi security forces have captured Mosul airport and hold three of the five bridges over the Tigris, which had been destroyed in the battles, according to Reuters.

Much of Mosul airport, which IS fighters seized in 2014, has also been heavily damaged.

Iraq plans to issue $1 billion worth of unsecured sovereign bonds on the international market in the first half of 2017 and some of the proceeds are likely to be allocated to rebuilding infrastructure, the chairman of the state-owned Trade Bank of Iraq, Faisal al-Haimus, told Zawya Projects last month. (Read here)

“There is huge opportunity for construction in Iraq,” Salloom said, adding that there were many European countries ready to fund reconstruction projects.

Heavily dependent on oil revenues, Iraq has struggled to finance its projects due to the sharp decline in crude prices that started in mid-2014 and the costly war against Islamic State militants.

© Zawya Projects News 2017