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Cablegate: Ninewa: Provincial Investment Commission Offers

VZCZCXRO7054
RR RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #2878/01 2511133
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 071133Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9270
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 002878

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON EINV ETRD PGOV IZ
SUBJECT: NINEWA: PROVINCIAL INVESTMENT COMMISSION OFFERS
ENTHUSIASM AND LITTLE ELSE

This is a Ninewa Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) message.

Summary
-------

1. (SBU) Neither the GOI nor the Ninewa Governorate have
taken the steps necessary to stand up the Provincial
Investment Commission (PIC). We met with an enthusiastic
staff, but one comprised of people with limited experience in
investment promotion and who seek from us the basic
infrastructure that the GOI has failed to provide. We are
prepared to offer technical assistance ) primarily through
in situ training and other capacity building ) and will
lobby the Provincial Government to do its part. End Summary

2. (U) PRT Econ section leader and Econ section staff
recently met with Ninewa Provincial Investment Commission
(PIC) chief Muwaffuq Younis and Deputy Chairman Ghani Sofia
to discuss the current state of the PIC and future plans.
The PIC has seven members (an eighth, the DG of
Municipalities, was assassinated earlier in June), all of
whom are either professional members of the governorate staff
or academics from Mosul University.

PIC Off and Running
-------------------

3. (U) PIC members told us that they have taken a number of
important steps to prepare for future investment in Ninewa.
They said that the PIC is preparing to serve as a one-stop
shop, for interested investors. They have met with a number
of local groups and organizations that are interested in
attracting investment, including the Chamber of Commerce,
industrial unions/associations, and relevant offices within
the provincial government. The PIC has coordinated with the
Departments of Municipality and Finance on the allocation of
land to potential investors. The DG of Municipality has
established a special commission to identify lands outside of
Mosul for possible industrial and agricultural investment.

4. (U) The PIC has also collected a significant amount of
relevant information about the province that will be useful
for potential investors. This includes a list of possible
investments that the PIC submitted to the National Investment
Commission (NIC). The PIC has established contact with the
Chamber of Commerce to ensure that the Chamber,s information
holdings can also be made available to possible investors.
The PIC has already drafted an investment report request form
that will help potential investors identify their information
requirements.

5. (U) Younis claimed that the PIC is already in contact with
a number of investors, both Iraqi and regional, who are
looking at investments in Ninewa. Most notably, the Al-Hanna
Sheikh Group, based in Bahrain, is reportedly interested at
oil sector and power generation possibilities. He notes that
investors remain concerned about the security situation in
Ninewa, but many appear to believe the security situation is
improving. The PIC is particularly interested in promoting
industrial investments, and is looking into the possibility
of establishing an industrial site for light and medium
industries near Mosul.

But Operating on a Shoestring
-----------------------------

6. (U) The PIC still has no budget, nor does it have an
office. All of its accomplishments have been made by PIC
members using their personal resources. Both Younis and
Sofia lamented their inability to secure a budget, noting
that it is very difficult to present a professional and
serious image to potential investors when they have to use
their personal email and don,t even have a web-site.

7. (U) Younis told us that the PIC submitted a budget to the
Ministry of Finance (MoF) to take advantage of the $1.2
million that the CoR set aside to support the investment
commissions, but the request was refused. With the
assistance of MNF-I liaison to the NIC, we have provided
Younis with the names of several NIC staff members who have
assisted other PICs in obtaining funding from the MoF. We
will continue to monitor PIC efforts to obtain funds.

8. (U) The local government has assigned office space to the
PIC in a relatively secure location in central Mosul, but
Younis says that some other government offices are occupying
some of the space. He says that the rest of the building
needs refurbishment, and inquired about USG assistance to

BAGHDAD 00002878 002 OF 002


refurbish the office. PRT officers made no commitments, but
did agree to explore the possibility.

Future Plans (and Needs)
------------------------

9. (U) Younis said that they have already submitted a request
for support staff that will be needed to staff the PIC as its
activities ramp up. He would like to train his staff in the
industrial and agricultural sectors, since these are the most
desirable sectors for investments in Ninewa. He also
lamented a lack of knowledge about modern investment
operations and current ideas for promoting investment. He
would like to send his staff to regional countries like
Jordan and Bahrain to see how these countries encourage
investment. Econ section chief noted that the Embassy is
trying to develop workshops for PIC members to offer some
training, and promised to keep Younis informed about any
training opportunities that may arise.

10. (SBU) Comment: The members of the Ninewa PIC get high
marks for their personal effort, but that alone will not
enable their institution to play its designated role. Given
a GOI commitment at both the national and provincial levels,
we can provide added value through capacity building and
technical assistance. We can augment, but not replace, that
commitment.
CROCKER

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