Sunday, November 7, 2010
AKSARAY - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey has been given priority in taking over construction and infrastructure projects in Iraq which present high profit and low risk, the governor of Baghdad said at a meeting in the central Turkish province of Aksaray.
“Priority used to be given to United States and European investors but in recent years Turkey gained great importance, with the investors offering low cost solutions with high efficiency for the long-lasting infrastructural problems of Iraq,” Governor of Baghdad Dr. Salah Abdul Razaq told the Hürriyet Daily News and Economic Review, following a meeting Saturday with members of Turkey's Independent Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association, or MÜSİAD.
At the meeting, Razaq invited Turkish businessmen to visit Iraq. “Iraq offers variety of opportunities for Turkish companies and the projects on the table have a business volume of nearly $10 billion.”
The Iraqi government strongly supports Turkish companies’ growth in Iraq, the governor said.
Demand in the country is still high, Razaq said. “Iraqis’ monthly average income per person rose to $500 recently, but the country still strives under a lack of proper infrastructure, houses, hospitals, schools, youth centers, and efficient water treatment facilities.”
Turkey always one step ahead
Razaq said Turks should increase their share in construction projects since the country needs urgent low budget housing all around the country.
“Baghdad needs nearly 1 million houses and 3 billion houses (are needed) in…Iraq,” he said, “We already issued permission for nearly 120,000 new housing projects this year and obviously the market still needs more.”
Iraq also plans to increase oil production from 2.4 million barrels per day to 10 million barrels over the next five years and will increase the budget for infrastructure projects to develop the war ravaged country, Razaq told the Daily News.
Razaq noted a “high quality” construction project could be completed for $6 million by Turkish companies, compared with western companies who would demand $10 million to complete the same project.
“The standards of quality are better in projects run by Turkish businessmen,” he said at the meeting. “Turkey is always one step ahead of others.”
Search for loan and credit
Razaq told the Daily News the Iraqi government could only allocate approximately a third of the total budget to construction projects, which is not enough to keep up with increasing demand. Razaq said countries such as Turkey could also grant loans for Iraqi projects, with the Iraqi government easily capable of paying them off in up to 10 years time. “Our plan to increase Iraq’s oil production is the insurance of our debts and loans,” he said.
Iraq is now “more secure than ever,” according to the governor, and offers a variety of opportunities for investors such as reopening factories which stopped producing at the start of the second Gulf War.
“Nearly 200 factories are inactive and waiting for investors to produce for the country’s economy,” Razaq said. Turkish investors might purchase these inactive factories and start manufacturing in Iraq, he said. “In such a case, we can stop importing the same product and purchase the materials produced in our lands.”
Razaq also told the Daily News a similar arrangement had been agreed on with German automotive group Daimler, which took over an Iraqi factory to assemble this year’s truck production. “Daimler supplies tools and equipment for truck assembly and provides technical support on the site operated by Iraq’s State Company for Automotive Industry,” he said.
“Turkey could follow the same path and take its share by activating inactive factories of Iraq.”