UN supports Iraqi efforts to rehabilitate State-owned businesses

Traditional tea shop in Baghdad, Iraq.
23 March 2010 The United Nations is working with Iraqi officials to make State-owned businesses more market-oriented and less reliant on the Government.
More than a dozen representatives from the Iraqi glass and ceramics company, as well as from paper, phosphate, fertilizers and petrochemical industries in the governorates of Anbar and Basra, met last week at a UN workshop in Amman, Jordan.

The meeting was organized by the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the UN agency entrusted with accelerating sustainable industrial development in poorer countries.

The agency is aiming to reduce poverty in Iraq by creating sustainable and increased employment opportunities, and enhancing legal framework to allow domestic and international investment, in a manner that is more gender inclusive and environmentally sound.

Some 17 per cent of Iraqis are unemployed and 30 per cent are underemployed meaning they are either working part-time or in positions that do not require them to utilize their full level of skills or education, according to 2007 Iraqi figures.

The UN, through its programmes and funds on the ground, is trying to make State-owned businesses operate more efficiently. With this as the end goal, three out of the five participating public enterprises will be subject to full industrial feasibility studies and subsequent partial rehabilitation, according to UNIDO.

At the meeting, Iraqi participants examined financial and qualitative data, and discussed ways to transition from production to market-oriented enterprises.