Dara Jalil Khayat, Chairman of the Kurdistan Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry said, “Despite the recent challenges, Kurdistan Region has preserved its economic and trade position. The Kurdistan Region has become an important centre for trade in Iraq and the overall region thanks to its security and stability.”
Dara Khayat told KRG.org that withholding the Kurdistan Region’s share from the federal budget by the former Iraqi government and the terrorist threats “were the two main challenges for Kurdistan Region. These challenges have pushed Kurdistan Region to resort to other plans to protect its trade and economy, taking advantage of its prevailing security and political stability and an active private sector.”
The Government’s support for the investment amid such circumstances “was the best response; and the presence of local investment in active economic sectors has considerably saved the Kurdistan Region’s markets from stagnation and reduced the loss compared to the rest of Iraq”
Due to the recent events in both Iraq and Kurdistan Region, marked by the threats of the Islamic State’s terrorist organisation, known as ISIS and withholding Kurdistan Region’s share from the federal budget and failure in paying the civil servants salaries by Baghdad, the Kurdistan Region has faced an economic crisis where the implementation of a large number of projects were suspended.
Dara Khayat considered the agreement reached between KRG and Baghdad as a significant development, which will pave the way for resuming economic activities.
He said that this would lead both Iraq and Kurdistan Region to have a solid presence in the international oil market, despite the fact that oil price has sharply fallen. Mr. Khayat added that “it is expected that Iraq’s oil income will reach over $300 billion in the next five to six years.”
Dara Khayat stressed the need for holding trade and economic forums particularly with the countries with solid investment capacity. He said the recent agreements that the Kurdistan Region has signed with Belarus and Hungary have “marked an important initiative towards further similar important steps in the future.”
UAE chamber of commerce forum
Dubai Chamber of Commerce Erbil branch on 18 November, held a forum to discuss the economic situation in Kurdistan and the role of foreign investment particularly from the United Arab Emirates. The forum was attended by the Governor of Erbil, the Chairman of the Kurdistan Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the Head of Italian Consular Office in Erbil, the representative of Germany’s chamber of commerce, and a number of representatives of trade and business community.
In his speech addressing the forum, the Governor of Erbil stressed on “the return of business activities and the role of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s support to such activities with the view to further developing trade and investment in the Kurdistan Region.”
Dara Khayat told the forum “by developing the industry sector, not only the Kurdistan Region but also Iraq and the regional countries can profit from Kurdistan’s industrial products, particularly cement and iron.”
Regarding tourism sector, he said Kurdistan Region could benefit from this sector and receive four to five million tourists annually by implementing new projects.
The Head of Italian Consular Office in Erbil, Carmelo Ficarra, said due to the security situation in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region and the area, his country had to defer holding two important exhibitions in the Kurdistan Region.
He stressed that his country’s private sector is, enthusiastically, looking forward to resume its business activities in the Kurdistan Region.
Rashid Al-Mansouri, the UAE Consul-General to Kurdistan Region, told the forum that “Kurdistan Region is a secure and stable region and has its own economic position. His country therefore plans to implement major projects in the Kurdistan Region”.
Al-Mansouri said, “Peshmarga forces are the best guarantee for the development of the economic situation in the Kurdistan Region, because by protecting Kurdistan’s security and stability, Peshmarga forces encourage other countries to come and invest in the Region. He urged the countries to take advantage of the opportunity made available and bring their projects to the Kurdistan Region.”