Investment law needs amendment
Duhok Investment Director talks to the Kurdish Globe
Bakhtiyar Amin, Director General of Duhok Investment, said in an interview with the Kurdish Globe that one year after the decision to hold residential project licenses, still it is not clear when the Investment Board will resume licensing again.
Below is the script of the interview with Bakhtiyar Amin:
What is the investment percentage in Duhok?
The percentage of investment in Duhok is 20%, which is UD$ 3 billion in 2012. However in 2011 it was only US$ 1.5 billion. This means that it has doubled in one year. The total land allocated for all 122 investment projects was 1750 hectares. Moreover, 85% of the projects were implemented by local companies.
Why investment law has not yet been amended?
The most important thing to work on is the 2006 Investment Law, which needs complete revision and improvement. We have established a committee more than one year ago to study the law and identify the shortages.
To what extent residential project investors commit violations?
There are several aspects of violation, technical violations, financial violations and dishonesty. Many times projects have been put on hold and their owners have been fined because of violations. They have not been allowed to resume operations until the violations were corrected. Some investors do not follow the laws and regulations and sell residential units before building. But we deal with these cases according to the investment law.
Why many people complain about delays in the implementation of the projects?
It is true that most of the time the projects do not complete in time; and we have tried to solve them, but there are some issues that we cannot solve and are out of our control.
How many residential units have been built in Duhok?
There are 40 projects implemented in Duhok, which constitute a total 36,384 units.
To what extent the low income people have benefited from the projects?
There are no correct statistics but definitely they have had significant impact on the market and rental rates. However due to lack of any regulations for selling units, the prices go up every day, and renters do not benefit from them.
Are there any other concerns?
People complain about problems with the projects and investors complain about lack of cooperation by relevant government authorities, which makes their operations more difficult.
To what extent agricultural lands have been used for residential projects?
No Investment Board projects are built on agricultural lands. Lands are allocated by the municipality based on the municipal master plan of the cities. If a land is originally agricultural but is now within the cities’ master plans and has become the property of the municipalities and is no longer fit for agriculture, then this should not be counted as an agricultural land. Otherwise municipalities never use agricultural lands for residential projects.
When will licensing resume for residential projects?
It has been one year the licenses have been put on hold and it is still not clear when they will resume, since they are busy with new regulations and guidelines, in a way that they will be in the interest of the public.
A general view of a huge residential project in the province of Duhok.