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Saleh calls on the World Bank to suppor t development projects in Iraq
Thursday, November 29,
Alsumaria News / Baghdad called on the President of the Republic , Barham Salih, Thursday, World Bank for the Middle East and North Africa, to support social and economic development projects in Iraq, stressing the importance of achieving financial, monetary and economic stability in the country.
The President of the Republic, in a statement received by Alsumaria News, a copy of it, said that "President Barham Salih received at the Peace Palace in Baghdad this afternoon, World Bank Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa Farid Belhadj, accompanied by Regional Director of the World Bank for Central Asia Saroj Kumar Jha" .
He pointed out the importance of the World Bank's support for social and economic development projects in Iraq, as well as appropriate reforms, combating corruption, the necessity of developing and diversifying the sources of the national economy and ensuring the requirements of reconstruction.
"The achievement of financial, monetary and economic stability in Iraq is not only a goal but also a basis for political stability and an important strategic project for sustainable development and civil development in the country," Barham Saleh said.
For his part, the World Bank Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa said that "the World Bank is determined to support the Iraqi economy positively and work to support partnership with Iraqi financial institutions by increasing areas of cooperation and the adoption of better investment resources and energies."
Thursday, May 19, 2016, Posted at: 13:08(GMT+7) PM calls for effective use of WB loans Relevant agencies must get well prepared for receiving the remainder of the World Bank's International Development Association (IDA-17) fund allocated for Vietnam in the 2014-2017 period, according to Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
The Prime Minister also urged all bodies to devise measures to ensure the effective use of official development assistance (ODA) and other preferential loans.
The two IDA-funded projects on strengthening the management of land and building a land database, and improving teachers’ effectiveness will remain unchanged in terms of scale, according to hime conclusion.
The Government leader assigned the Ministry of Planning and Investment to be in charge and work with the Ministries of Natural Resources and Environment, and Education and Training, to submit the projects for approval.
Relevant agencies are to complete necessary documents before May 20 to receive WB-funded projects in the fiscal year of 2016 in line with the Government’s Decree No.38/ND-CP dated April 23, 2013 on management and use of ODA and preferential loans.
The PM gave the green light to the State Bank of Vietnam to technically negotiate with the World Bank on IDA projects in the 2016 fiscal year.
He requested the Ministry of Planning and Investment to review the list of projects to be disbursed in the next fiscal year to ensure effective use of the loans.
The Ministry of Finance will cooperate with the Ministry of Planning and Investment in making reports to the Government on the safe limits of ODA and preferential loans, which does not affect the public debt ceiling.
Even amid conflict and fluctuations in oil prices, as home to the world’s third-largest oil reserves, Iraq has the sort of wealth from natural resources that make it possible for its government to invest in the country’s infrastructure. Iraq spent more than US$51 billion on public procurement in 2014, well over 20% of the country’s GDP. Harnessing this revenue to develop the economy, however, requires an efficient system of government contracting.
Public procurement in Iraq has been effected by decades of sanctions, war, and instability—conditions that have created a system characterized by inefficiency, corruption, and delays. Procurement is a bottleneck that prevents budgetary expenditure; according to the World Bank’s 2014 Public Investment Management Report, often the process is stuck at 50%–60% of its capacity.
Another assessment in 2012 showed widespread corruption in public contracting weakening investors’ perceptions of doing business in Iraq, and thus hurting its prospects of increased foreign investment. Simply put, Iraq’s outdated procurement system, combined with its post-conflict low absorptive capacity, is significantly increasing the cost of public investment and also diminishing its returns.
The Bank’s Middle East and North Africa (MENA) procurement team has worked with the Government of Iraq to address this. The Bank’s regional public procurement strategy promotes building capacity in a way that moves beyond small-scale, short-term training, towards comprehensive programs that look for more sustainable solutions. In Iraq, the Bank is trying to help the country build a future generation of civil servants with the skills needed to manage procurement with efficiency and integrity.
With a grant from the Iraq Trust Fund, the Public Contracts Directorate (PCD) in Iraq’s Ministry of Planning forged strategic partnerships with six public universities located in different regions of Iraq. The idea behind these partnerships is to develop a supply of professionals who enter the civil service properly prepared to apply the principles of economy, efficiency, and competition within the public contracting process.
The program is diverse in its geographic scope and multi-disciplinary approach, reflecting the multi-stakeholder nature of public procurement. The PCD enlisted the help of faculties of law, engineering, public administration and business to establish procurement education programs across academic fields.
The Bank and PCD first needed to make sure, however, that academics in Iraq responsible for teaching the new procurement curriculum had the relevant content for it. Iraq asked the World Bank for help in learning how to develop programs for its procurement workforce. With the Bank’s assistance, the PCD struck up a partnership with Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense in France.
In October 2014, a group of 18 Iraqi professors and administrators from the universities of Baghdad, Salah Aldeen, and the Technical University of Sulaimaniya, Kufa and Basrah, attended an intensive two-week diploma program at Nanterre. “The students of Iraq are the future of our country,” Fareed Yasseen, Iraq’s Ambassador to France, said of the partnership. “We need to develop training models like this to provide our students with the modern skills necessary to succeed in government and beyond."
Some of these Iraqi universities have already adapted their curriculum and integrated procurement into existing academic programs. These include Angham Ezzulddin Ali Alsaffar, Professor of Civil Engineering at Baghdad University, who said the training course in Nanterre was proving useful for her and her students. Another university teacher, Ahmed Saydok, Director of Continuous Education at Salahaddin University in Erbil, had spearheaded the launch of new summer courses. “The bottom line is that the students are the raw material,” he said. “You can mold them as you want.”
This program did not emerge in a vacuum: It arose from prolonged engagement with the Bank, which sought to solutions to fit Iraq’s specific context. When discussions first began, its government agreed to build the skills of procurement personnel. “We set the building blocks in a program that was rolled out over three years,” said Hamed Ahmed, Manager of Monitoring and Coordination at the PCD.
In 2013, a procurement needs assessment was conducted. One of its key points was the vast scale of the needs—there were thousands of government officials and stakeholders involved in procurement on a regular basis with little training on how to do so. But the ability to reach them was limited.
This capacity building program aims to address exactly that: By working with university teachers and students, the initiative is forward-looking, seeking to equip a future Iraq with procurement skills. It implicitly recognizes Iraq will need massive investment in infrastructure for water, transport and energy, and, therefore, a public sector capable of managing and executing this.
With the Terms of Trade Shocks happening to Iraq, the plan of privatizing the country has become all the rave. Not a new concept and as a matter of fact the plans of privatization has been in the works heavily since 2004. Now I will not waste time building a case but please know that I form my opinion from much of the research out there (if interested I can share the sources), instead I will get straight to the point here.
!The true test of Abadi's intent to privatize Iraq will be whether or not he promotes the Corporatization and Privatization of Iraq's key state-owned banks namely Rafidain & Rasheed!
Regardless of what you read or hear or think, this is what needs to be watched for in the news. The World Bank performed a financial sector review of Iraq and listed "Medium to Long Term Task(s)" for the Ministry of Finance & CBI to pass into law these bullet point items as part of the economic liberalization effort:
■ Clarify the mandate of the specialized state- owned banks, and consider consolidation and conversion into a development banks with increasing their capital, which will not take deposits.
■ Ensure state-owned banks work according to commercial principles and on a level playing field. Early corporatization of state- owned banks should be considered a key element.
■ Over time the authorities should consider gradual privatization of the key state-owned banks.
Why is this important? Because research has proven that as long as the banking structure is managed centrally (i.e. by government) whether fully or partially, a market economy is smothered. It is like finally being given a Lamborghini but a governor is placed on the engine limiting its top-off to 75mph. What is more, control of the banking structure will do just as bad if management is concentrated (a sleight of hand trick governments will attempt to retain control).
Many are wondering what impact this might have on an RV. For those who believe value will be added to the currency once it is unpegged from the dollar, you should understand that moving to a flexible exchange regime has its risks. Those risks are high if the financial sector is not well structured and configured to properly absorb fluctuations and shock in the market. State owned or partially owned banks do not absorb shock well because their political and relationship interest get in the way of forming sound financial policy. For example a consistent problem with state run banks is loaning to bankrupt businesses to help them stay afloat because the owners of the businesses are your friends. Another common issue is with state run banks maintaining managers too inept for the job but appointed because of some personal affiliation. Whereas Privatized banks often change management and scrutinize lending practices to ensure the bank's efficiency at conducting business. Fully privatized banks without government intervention are more profitable.
And so I am not here to argue against an overnight RV versus a gradual rise in value from an overnight exchange regime change. I am opining that Abadi will face the decision of his life - whether or not to fully privatize the key state owned banks.
Remember that these key banks have been groomed for privatization and it is documented in the World Banks playbook for Iraq. For instance when you see articles about E&Y and other 3rd party financial firms coming into Iraq, typically it is not for existing private banks like Bank of Baghdad or North Bank, these banks are not ready to carry the load of an economy like Rafidain & Rasheed. The focus has always been to ensure the readiness of Rifidain & Rasheed Banks to properly privatize and handle the coming market economy because they are Iraq's financial powerhouse and dwarfs all other banking entities. Recall articles like these from yesteryear: "The acting Finance Minister, Ali Yousef Shukri (pictured), is reported to have held a meeting with a representative of the World Bank to discuss the restructuring of the state-owned banks in Iraq. According to the report from NINA, the discussions related particularly to the Rasheed and Rafidain banks." Well this IS the plan and a MAJOR cog in the engine for successful privatization of Iraq's economy.
Can the GOI find within itself to relinquish its control of the money power and liberalize its banking sector?
PS. The concept I am presenting is not new for developing economies. This is where many of them struggle when attempting to make that change from a socialist, government-centric economy to a true market economy. This is the story of Egypt who adopted a very similar reformation plan as Iraq (the similarities are incredible really) from the World Bank but when time came to execute on the banking component, the government would not fully comply with the plan and fully privatize its state owned banks. Egypt floated its currency in 2003, like any market-type economy should, but the long term effects have been troubling.
World Bank Insider Blows Whistle on Corruption, Federal Reserve
Wednesday, 22 May 2013
A former insider at the World Bank, ex-Senior Counsel Karen Hudes, says the global financial system is dominated by a small group of corrupt, power-hungry figures centered around the privately owned U.S. Federal Reserve. The network has seized control of the media to cover up its crimes, too, she explained. In an interview with The New American, Hudes said that when she tried to blow the whistle on multiple problems at the World Bank, she was fired for her efforts. Now, along with a network of fellow whistleblowers, Hudes is determined to expose and end the corruption. And she is confident of success.
Citing an explosive 2011 Swiss study published in the PLOS ONE journal on the “network of global corporate control,” Hudes pointed out that a small group of entities — mostly financial institutions and especially central banks — exert a massive amount of influence over the international economy from behind the scenes. “What is really going on is that the world’s resources are being dominated by this group,” she explained, adding that the “corrupt power grabbers” have managed to dominate the media as well. “They’re being allowed to do it.”
According to the peer-reviewed paper, which presented the first global investigation of ownership architecture in the international economy, transnational corporations form a “giant bow-tie structure.” A large portion of control, meanwhile, “flows to a small tightly-knit core of financial institutions.” The researchers described the core as an “economic ‘super-entity’” that raises important issues for policymakers and researchers. Of course, the implications are enormous for citizens as well.
Hudes, an attorney who spent some two decades working in the World Bank’s legal department, has observed the machinations of the network up close. “I realized we were now dealing with something known as state capture, which is where the institutions of government are co-opted by the group that’s corrupt,” she told The New American in a phone interview. “The pillars of the U.S. government — some of them — are dysfunctional because of state capture; this is a big story, this is a big cover up.”
At the heart of the network, Hudes said, are 147 financial institutions and central banks — especially the Federal Reserve, which was created by Congress but is owned by essentially a cartel of private banks. “This is a story about how the international financial system was secretly gamed, mostly by central banks — they’re the ones we are talking about,” she explained. “The central bankers have been gaming the system. I would say that this is a power grab.”
The Fed in particular is at the very center of the network and the coverup, Hudes continued, citing a policy and oversight body that includes top government and Fed officials. Central bankers have also been manipulating gold prices, she added, echoing widespread concerns that The New American has documented extensively. Indeed, even the inaccurate World Bank financial statements that Hudes has been trying to expose are linked to the U.S. central bank, she said.
“The group that we’re talking about from the Zurich study — that’s the Federal Reserve; it has some other pieces to it, but that’s the Federal Reserve,” Hudes explained. “So the Federal Reserve secretly dominated the world economy using secret, interlocking corporate directorates, and terrorizing anybody who managed to figure out that they were having any kind of role, and putting people in very important positions so that they could get a free pass.”
The shadowy but immensely powerful Bank for International Settlements serves as “the club of these private central bankers,” Hudes continued. “Now, are people going to want interest on their country’s debts to continue to be paid to that group when they find out the secret tricks that that group has been doing? Don’t forget how they’ve enriched themselves extraordinarily and how they’ve taken taxpayer money for the bailout.”
As far as intervening in the gold price, Hudes said it was an effort by the powerful network and its central banks to “hold onto its paper currency” — a suspicion shared by many analysts and even senior government officials. The World Bank whistleblower also said that contrary to official claims, she did not believe there was any gold being held in Fort Knox. Even congressmen and foreign governments have tried to find out if the precious metals were still there, but they met with little success. Hudes, however, believes the scam will eventually come undone.
“This is like crooks trying to figure out where they can go hide. It’s a mafia,” she said. “These culprits that have grabbed all this economic power have succeeded in infiltrating both sides of the issue, so you will find people who are supposedly trying to fight corruption who are just there to spread disinformation and as a placeholder to trip up anybody who manages to get their act together.… Those thugs think that if they can keep the world ignorant, they can bleed it longer.”
Of course, the major corruption at the highest levels of government and business is not a new phenomenon. Georgetown University historian and Professor Carroll Quigley, who served as President Bill Clinton’s mentor, for example, wrote about the scheme in his 1966 book Tragedy And Hope: A History Of The World In Our Time. The heavyweight academic, who was allowed to review documents belonging to the top echelons of the global establishment, even explained how the corrupt system would work — remarkably similar to what Hudes describes.
"The powers of financial capitalism had a far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole,” wrote Prof. Quigley, who agreed with the goals but not the secrecy. “This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences. The apex of the system was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations."
But it is not going to happen, Hudes said — at least not if she has something do to with it. While the media are dominated by the “power grabber” network, Hudes has been working with foreign governments, reporters, U.S. officials, state governments, and a broad coalition of fellow whistleblowers to blow the entire scam wide open. There has been quite a bit of interest, too, particularly among foreign governments and state officials in the United States.
Citing the wisdom of America’s Founding Fathers in creating a federal system of government with multiple layers of checks and balances, Hudes said she was confident that the network would eventually be exposed and subjected to the rule of law, stopping the secret corruption. If and when that happens — even if it may be disorderly — Hudes says precious metals will once again play a role in imposing discipline on the monetary system. The rule of law would also be restored, she said, and the public will demand a proper press to stay informed.
“We’re going to have a cleaned-up financial system, that’s where it is going, but in the meantime, people who didn’t know how the system was gamed are going to find out,” she said. “We’re going to have a different kind of international financial system.... It’ll be a new kind of world where people know what’s going on — no more backroom deals; that’s not going to keep happening. We’re going to have a different kind of media if people don’t want to be dominated and controlled, which I don’t think they do.”
While Hudes sounded upbeat, she recognizes that the world is facing serious danger right now — there are even plans in place to impose martial law in the United States, she said. The next steps will be critical for humanity. As such, Hudes argues, it is crucial that the people of the world find out about the lawlessness, corruption, and thievery that are going on at the highest levels — and put a stop to it once and for all. The consequences of inaction would be disastrous.