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FAQs

The Private Sector Development Center of Iraq

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  1. What is the Private Sector Development Center of Iraq?

  2. How is the work of the Center different from existing business associations such as Chambers of Commerce?

  3. How does the Center operate?

  4. How is the Center structured?

  5. Who is on the Center Steering Committee?

  6. What types of issues does the Center address?

  7. How exactly does the Center engage Government?

  8. Is the Center an implementing body?

  9. Where does the Center get its funding from?

  10. How does the Center, decide which issues to address?

  11. Is the Center designed to replace Iraqi business associations?

  12. What other benefits will Center members receive?

  13. Does the Center provide training to Iraqi businesses?

  14. How does one get into contact with the Center?

 

Q 1: What is the Private Sector Development Center of Iraq?

A: The Center is a joint private sector body in Iraq focused on economic reform. Its mission is to contribute to the business development, investment, economic growth and entrepreneurship in Iraq by identifying barriers to reform and working with Government to implement tangible solutions.

With the support of the World Bank, the objective of the Center is to work with the Government of Iraq to achieve measurable development of the private sector and reduced obstacles to business growth that will lead to the creation of quality employment, poverty alleviation and economic growth in the country.

The Center is not a government body, it is independent and non-political.

Q 2: How is the work of the Center different from existing business associations such as Chambers of Commerce?

A: The Center collaborates closely with existing business groups, including in identifying high priority national issues which are not sector specific and which impact on all or most businesses in Iraq. The focus is to improve the business environment nationally across Iraq.  The Center will work with partners such as existing business groups and international organizations to find solutions and help the Government implement reforms. The work of the Center will help strengthen the voice of all business groups and associations in Iraq. The Center will provide a list of achievements in mid-2012, one year after the establishment of the Center.

Q 3: How does the Center operate?

A: The Center bring together business associations and other private sector organisations as formal members to: (i) identify and prioritize key constraints to private sector development in Iraq; and (ii) propose and advocate solutions to these constraints to Government.

Center members have signed a Memorandum of Understanding pledging their involvement and commitment to achieving the Center's objectives.

Q 4: How is the Center structured?

A: The Center is led by a Steering Committee which is responsible for prioritizing the work of the Center, approving reform recommendations and advocating those recommendations to Government. Regular discussions on reform issues will take place through Working Groups which present recommendations to the Steering Committee for approval. Both Working Groups and the Steering Committee are supported by a Secretariat which provides administrative, facilitation and analytical support to better understand the problem and possible solutions.

Q 5: Who is on the Center Steering Committee?

The Steering Committee is chaired by Mr. Khalid Mahdi, Chairman of the Center and composed of the following individuals:

Name

Organization

Haidar Al Fehan

Babylon Chamber of Commerce

Hameed Al Ukaby

International Union of Businessmen in Iraq

Ayad Radhi Hassan

Basra Chamber of Commerce

Hadeel Hassan

Lawyer

Hawra Abbas

Karbala Iraqi Federations of Industries

Q 6: What types of issues does the Center address?

A: The Center will address issues which affect the development of the Iraqi private sector including barriers to doing business, and which the private sector has identified as priorities. These can include, for example, Government laws, regulations and procedures which affect the ability of Iraqis to establish and operate business operations.

Q 7: How exactly does the Center engage Government?

A: Enhancing private sector development in Iraq requires close cooperation between Government and the private sector. The Center acknowledges the critical role that Government must play in creating the right conditions for investment and growth, and the harm that can be done by poorly designed and enforced laws, regulations and procedures. The Center will work with Government to identify and reform costly, bureaucratic and time consuming Government rules in order to lower the costs of doing business, increase the private sector's competitiveness and deliver more growth and jobs for the Iraqi people.

The Center will seek out partners in Government committed to reform. It will develop and present to Government well-researched proposals together with actions plans for their implementation and assessments of the impact that these proposals will have on the economy. The goal is to build a foundation for more effective presentation by the private sector of its reform priorities, and in so doing help build a stronger relationship with Government.

The Center acknowledges the important work of development partners including UN agencies such as the International Labor Organization, USAID and donors. The Center integrates its work with support for private sector development in Iraq and aims to cooperate with all partners.

Q 8: Is the Center an implementing body?

A: The role of the Center is to collaborate and partner with the Government of Iraq, business groups and international development partners to propose solutions to constraints facing Iraqi businesses and to convince Government to adopt its recommendations. However, the Center's member organizations could very legitimately contribute to the implementation of specific reforms through, for example, sharing information about the reform with their business members.

The Center is not a government body, is independent and non-political.

Q 9: Where does the Center get its funding from?

A: The Center is supported for the time being by the World Bank which is covering its start-up costs, Secretariat staff, and technical assistance and training. Center members, on behalf of their respective organisations, are contributing their time free of charge.

Q 10: How does the Center, decide which issues to address?

The Center has prioritized the first set of issues as its initial areas of activity which are:

  • Labor Issues

  • Trading Across Borders

  • International Arbitration

  • Women Economic Empowerment

The list of priorities is developed from feedback received from the members of the business organisations serving on the Center's Steering Committee.

Center issues may change over time. Any Center member shall have the opportunity to bring issues to the Center's attention following which the Steering Committee will make a decision on the issues to priorities.

Q 11: Is the Center designed to replace Iraqi business associations?

A: No. The Center brings business associations together. It is an opportunity for the private sector of Iraq to join forces in developing and advocating solutions to the most pressing problems preventing the private sector's development. The idea is that a united private sector voice under the umbrella of the Center will allow this voice to be heard in more places and give its recommendations more credibility and visibility.

Q 12: What other benefits will Center members receive?

A: Center members will have the opportunity to receive capacity building training on policy advocacy and other subjects considered important for their organizational development. The Center will also serve as a communications mechanism to keep members informed of Government reform activities and to help coordinate private sector efforts to engage Government in order to minimize duplication.

Q 13: Does the Center provide training to Iraqi businesses?

A: Not directly. The Center will facilitate training for business member organizations on a variety of issues considered important for their development, effectiveness and sustainability. It will do this by informing Members of training opportunities and programs As recipients of such individual business members of the Center will be the main beneficiaries.

Q 14: How does one get into contact with the Center?

A: The Center can be reached by contacting the Secretariat or members of the Steering Committee at the following address info@psdc-iraq.org. It will soon launch a series of outreach tools to regularly inform stakeholders of its activities.

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