A high-ranking source in the Iraqi Ministry of Finance said that the purpose of the Institution is to be responsible for all investment projects of federal nature exclusively, as there will be regional and provincial bodies, which will also be responsible for investment planning and the granting of invest licenses in their regions. The National Institution is run by a council consists of nine members with expertise and competence, and the chairman of the council is nominated by the Cabinet for a period of five years; The Parliament has the right to depose the chairman and his deputy directly at the request of the Prime Minister.
The source said that the law aims to achieve a number of objectives; the most important of which are: encourage investment and transfer modern technologies to contribute in developing the Iraqi economy, also encourage the Iraqi and foreign private sector to investment in Iraq through securing the necessary facilities for the establishment of enterprises and enhance competitiveness, as well as develop the human resources according to the market requirements and provide job opportunities for the unemployed. In addition to this, the law contained some articles concerning the protection of the rights and properties of investors and the expansion of exports, balance of payments and Iraqi trade balance.
As for what facilities Iraq will grant to foreign and Arab investors, he emphasized that the law grants all the projects presented by Arabs and foreigners concessions and guarantees that ensure their continuation and development, as well as exempting them from taxes and duties, while the Institution will be responsible for identifying the most important sectors and preparing a map for projects in the light of the information provided by the provincial and regional bodies, then organizing them in lists which the investor can obtain.
As for the possibility of the regions projects contradicting the laws of the federal Institution, he emphasized that the law dealt with this matter; regional bodies have rights, including the right to form departments within their districts and they should coordinate with the Federal Center regarding the investment plans and facilities, on condition that regional investment instructions, plans and policies do not contradict with the policies of the Center.
The law also tackled the limits of these projects’ capitals, and the Institution has been given the power to accept applications of licenses to projects with a capital not less than the minimum one determined by the Cabinet or the regional Council of Ministers. Also the approval of these bodies should be obtained when starting a project with a capital of more than $ 250 million and the project exempted from taxes and duties for a period of ten years from the date of starting the commercial operation.
The Cabinet has the right to propose bills to extend or grant exemptions in addition to the exemptions listed and also provide incentives and guarantees or other concessions to any project, sector or region and in accordance with the nature of the activity, its geographical location and the extent of its contribution to the operation of manpower requirements and considerations of national interest; the law also permitted increasing the years of exemption from taxes and duties of up to fifteen years.
As for the machinery and equipment imported for the investment project, the source explained that those equipments are exempted from taxes and duties on condition they are admitted within three years of granting the license; those same articles are exempted in case of expansion or increasing the designing power. The imported spare parts are also exempted from taxes on condition they do not exceed 20% of the purchase value of those equipments. (Source)AlSabah