Iraq to spend $1.5bn on water and sewage projects
Fifty contracts to be handed out over the course of next three years
Iraq plans to spend in the region of $1.5bn (IQD 1,744.6bn) on water and sewage projects over the next two to three years, according to the country’s municipal affairs minister.
Adil Mhoder, Municipalities and Public Works Minister, told Reuters that there will be a total of 50 such projects related to building sewage infrastructure and securing portable water from the Tigris-Euphrates river system, and that these would be open to foreign contractors.
“What was allocated to projects that will be awarded in 2014 is $1.5bn annually for two to three years,” Municipalities and Public Works Minister Adil Mhoder said on the sidelines of a conference in Dubai.
“We will ask companies to bid for them in 2014,” Mhoder said. “By the end of 2013, these projects will have passed the planning phase and will be needing implementation.”
He said the Iraqi government was taking steps, including facilitating the issue of visas to businessmen, to encourage foreign contractors to set up shop in the country.
Foreign contractors are reluctant to carry out much-needed infrastucture projects in Iraq as a result of slow bureaucratic procedures and an unstable political and security environment.
Despite government plans to spend billions of dollars over the coming years, few foreign firms have been willing to build in Iraq.
About 800 Iraqis were killed in August, the United Nations estimates. The bloodshed, 18 months after U.S. troops withdrew, has stirred concerns about a return to the sectarian conflict of 2006-7, when the monthly death toll topped 3,000.