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Cablegate: Prt Wasit Public and Private Interests Join Hands

VZCZCXRO5129
RR RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDH RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #0406 0471337
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 161337Z FEB 10 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6641
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS BAGHDAD 000406

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV ECIN ECON IZ
SUBJECT: PRT WASIT PUBLIC AND PRIVATE INTERESTS JOIN HANDS
OVER HOUSING PROJECT

1. (U) This is a PRT Wasit reporting cable.
2. (SBU) SUMMARY: The Wasit Provincial Government has
declared its full commitment to supporting a large privately
financed housing development project planned for al-Kut.
This multi-year project will provide over eight-hundred
apartments for middle income families. This project will put
to the test the stated resolve of provincial institutions to
facilitate private investment, even as it pushes the limits
of essential services delivery in the area. Governor Latif
Hamad al-Turfah states that this project will set the
benchmark that potential investors will use to gauge the
viability of future large-scale privately-funded projects in
Wasit.
PRIVATE SECTOR INVESTMENT / PUBLIC SECTOR SUPPORT
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
3. (SBU) An Iraqi company, Al-Hamra, has begun preliminary
site work in al-Kut and construction drawings are in
development. At a Wasit Investment Commission (WIC)
sponsored project meeting, Governor Turfah and influential
Provincial Council Chairman Mahmud Abd al-Rida Talal
encouraged cooperation between stakeholders and set the
express expectation that provincial officials work as
facilitators to the project and not, in the words of the
Governor, as &impediments to investment.8 Al-Hamra
representatives noted their intent to use local labor and
materials whenever practical for the project and their
engineering staff spoke in detail to municipal service
managers regarding planned construction techniques, as well
as the project,s significant electrical and water
requirements.
4. (SBU) The Governor noted that while state-driven foreign
investment such as the Chinese development of oil resources
in Wasit were on-going, this type of privately executed
project was critical for the future development of the
province. The Governor recognized the project,s positive
impact on local job creation and dismissed queries related to
the inclusion of a mosque in the project scope-of-work as
irrelevant to the discussions. Governor Turfah engaged in a
public shouting match with a local reporter during the
meeting, apparently upset over recent reporting critical of
his performance and had the al-Sharqiyah Channel reporter and
cameraman ejected from the meeting.
5. (SBU) Comment: Large scale private investment in Wasit
remains theoretical at this time; the Wasit Investment
Commission is very active but its effectiveness is difficult
to gauge. As the province moves towards more decentralized
governmental functions, it might also gravitate towards
increased private enterprise and entrepreneurship. Provincial
government may have limited tools in which to facilitate
investment, but as Governor Turfah stated, it can at the very
least remove the bureaucratic roadblocks that suppress it.
END COMMENT.
FORD

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