KRG announces major investment plan as economic challenges loom

The plan includes infrastructure projects such as "building highways, small-to-medium size dams, and railways."

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A senior Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) official on Sunday announced over a thousand investment projects in various sectors across the region.

The announcement comes as the Kurdistan Region faces a dire economic outlook due to the new coronavirus pandemic that has crippled governments worldwide, a substantial decline in oil prices, and a renewed budget dispute with the federal Iraqi government.

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The projects have the stated aim of diversifying KRG's source of revenue and reducing reliance on proceeds from hydrocarbons sales, which has left the autonomous region financially vulnerable to volatile oil prices.

"The plan contains 11 industrial zones, each of which consists of 3000-3500 small-to-medium-size factories," estimated to produce around 200,000 job opportunities, head of KRG's Board of Investment Mohammed Shukri told Kurdistan 24.

Out of over 1,055 planned projects, 461 would be in the industrial sector, 113 agricultural, 227 in tourism, and 162 in the health sector, the investment chief later revealed during a press conference.

"The planning has been done in coordination with all [of Kurdistan Region's] provinces and administrative units." He affirmed there would be projects across the whole region.

The investment plan also includes infrastructure projects such as "building highways, small-to-medium size dams, and railways," Shukri said. "A draft bill for developing mineral resources has been submitted to the Council of Ministers."

The new plan also aims to reduce "a great percentage of" imported goods from neighboring countries to boost local production, Shukri noted.

Editing by Khrush Najari