Enhancing the competitiveness of the private sector: How to make loans and financial opportunities available to projects that enhance the competitiveness of the private sector

Aug 17, 2022

3:10 - 4:30 pm


"Many of Iraq's problems can be solved by the private sector, and the government always mentions slogans about developing the private sector, but they are just slogans." This is how the facilitator opened the session, Mr. Maher Al-Nuaimi, consultant at the Center for International Private Projects. He invited, Al-Bawi, CEO of Doinc, Rahel Aziz from Spark Organization, and Amar Ayad, Director of International Organizations - Baghdad Chamber of Commerce.


The fourth and final session began with a presentation by Ali Al-Bawi in the second day of the Fourth Point Conference Iraq, which was held in the" Station" building hall on July 23, 2022.


During his presentation, he showed that there is a difference between the private sector and entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship looking to establish an organization that provides services and products in a different way from the market, to create a higher competitiveness among the companies in the market.


And that there are two types of entrepreneurship, the first is non-profit social, such as initiatives, campaigns, and projects of non-profit organizations, and the second one is commercial aiming to profit, including small, start-up, medium and large projects.


He added that there are multiple methodologies that are useful in the field of entrepreneurship, and they are intended not only to come up with an innovative way or new solutions to the market, but does this service or product benefit people? Is there a request for this service or product? so it primarily identifies problems and then finds solutions.


There are three types of methodologies (Design thinking, learn startup, Design sprint), the most important methodologies are Design thinking, through which the problem can be understood and defined and therefore we find the solution to this problem and then we create a model to test this solution in a practical way, and this methodology aims to reach to the business model, this model focuses on several things (service or product, customer, management of the company's infrastructure, financial matters).


At the end of his presentation, Ali mentioned the most important benefits that we get from entrepreneurship, which can be summarized as (improving the quality of services, entering new products with local manufacturing, operating funds in the private sector, attracting foreign investments, new job opportunities, keeping pace with global economies).


"What is Baghdad Chamber of Commerce's vision for the former and current Iraqi private sector?" A question from the facilitator of the session to Anmar Ayad.


Anmar replied that there is a transformation in the Iraqi private sector. In the past, the economic system of Iraq was socialist, but today it is oriented towards capitalism, and the current governments have begun to withdraw their hand from the private sector to open a wider field for it. He added that in the Baghdad Chamber of Commerce we are trying to obtain government support in improving the business environment in terms of legislation and instructions that provide a good work environment.


Today, Baghdad Chamber of Commerce collects data from companies, traders and the market to determine the problems that can be shared with the government, because recently there is a movement from the government to hear the problems that the private sector suffers from.


Anmar indicated that Baghdad Chamber of Commerce launched a single window system through which all legal registration procedures for the company are completed electronically.


After that, Raheel Aziz spoke in Kurdish language and mentioned through his speech, Spark is a Dutch international organization that works on two sides (civil society organizations and the private sector). In addition to the private sector, the organization works to empower young owners of small projects in terms of training, project planning, implementation and financing, and the funding comes in the form of grants from several parties, most notably the Dutch embassy, and the grant starts from $500 and reaches $10,000.


"Is there competition between your company and other companies, and is there project financing?" A question asked by Maher Al-Nuaimi the facilitator of the session to Ali Al-Bawi.


Ali answered, at the present time there is no competition between companies due to the lack of companies in the labor market, and we as a company offer participatory work with companies and organizations, so we do not feel competition. As for financing, there is a noticeable development in financing projects in large numbers. There are those who finance one project and there are those who finance several projects at the same time.


"And what is the position of Baghdad Chamber of Commerce regarding the instructions of the white paper? Is there an understanding between you as a private sector and between the banks?".


Anmar Ayad replied that we wrote several comments about the white paper, especially on the issue of banning imports, because this burdens the national production, so the cost of the product will be large and the quality is lower, so import should be opened, even in a small part, so that there is competition between the national product and the imported product.


He added several initiatives launched by the Central Bank to support the private sector by launching one trillion and five trillion Iraqi dinars loans, but the procedures were very difficult in terms of guarantees, and now we are seeking to reduce these procedures and guarantees and facilitate the task for traders and project owners.


"Spark's scope of work is only in Kurdistan? After training the youth, are there tangible results can be noticed in reality?".


Rahel replied that the "Spark" organization has been working in Iraq since 2014, but due to the poor security conditions at that time, its work was limited on Kurdistan, but in return it provided a group of scholarships and also for a group of projects for the governorates of Baghdad and Mosul. He added that there are many young people who were empowered to open their own projects and Spark is not the only organization, there are other organizations in Kurdistan region that are also involved in providing support to youths by financing them to open projects or providing them with job opportunities.


At the end, Mr. Maher asked Baghdad Chamber of Commerce and the private sector institutions to take a real attitude to legislate the law of partnership between the private sector and the public sector through advocacy campaigns or policy papers.