What can a good Kur­dish gov­ern­ment do for the econ­omy?

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS - By Swara Kadir

How im­por­tant is the role which a gov­ern­ment plays to de­velop the econ­omy in an oil rich coun­try? Has enough been done by the Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Gov­ern­ment (K.R.G) to bring about pros­per­ity?

Kur­dis­tan is an oil rich re­gion of ap­prox­i­mately 45 bil­lion oil bar­rels in re­serves. This is ex­clud­ing the 15 bil­lion bar­rels of Kirkuk. The abun­dance of this nat­u­ral re­source has been both a bless­ing and a curse for the Kur­dish econ­omy. After the fall of the for­mer regime of Sad­dam, bil­lions of dol­lars have come into the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion from na­tional oil rev­enues. The ques­tion is: has this money helped in bring­ing about good eco­nomic growth or has it had the op­po­site ef­fect?

Since the emer­gence of the Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Gov­ern­ment, the role of good states­man­ship has be­come in­creas­ingly ap­par­ent in man­ag­ing oil rev­enues. Com­pared to other Mid­dle East­ern coun­tries, the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion en­joys a fairly demo­cratic gov­ern­ment with sound eco­nomic pol­icy. This doesn’t mean that it’s flaw­less, but rather one must look at things in con­text. The K.R.G has adopted Dubai as an eco­nomic model for at­tract­ing for­eign in­vest­ment. It is clear that a lot of ma­jor oil multi­na­tional com­pa­nies like Chevron, Exon Mo­bile, and Gazprom have in­vested heav­ily in the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion. The K.R.G has been suc­cess­ful in this re­gard. Yet there is more to be done.

In­ter­nally the K.R.G needs to carry out re­forms in or­der to bring about real eco­nomic growth and fa­cil­i­tate the emer­gence of a strong pri­vate sec­tor that could lead the econ­omy for­ward. The rule of law needs to be es­tab­lished more firmly and the ju­di­ciary should be more in­de­pen­dent. In ad­di­tion, the big bur­den on the bud­get (es­ti­mated at 70%) is wages given to the huge num­ber of peo­ple who are gov­ern­ment em­ploy­ees. This must be cut down.

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