Multinationals not willing to invest in Iraq, says minister

Other News Materials 12 February 2008 16:34 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - Iraq's electricity minister Karim Wahid said large multinational firms are not willing to pursue further investments in Iraq, due to the unstable security situation in the country, news reports said Tuesday.

"The ministry has intensified meetings with ambassadors of all industrial countries and has called all the neighbouring countries specialized in the electricity industry to share in the construction of power stations, but most of the firms are unwilling to work in Iraq," Wahid was quoted as saying in the daily al-Sabah newspaper.

His ministry plans to cancel a deal with the Chinese Shanghai Electric company, for not implementing a project agreed to last December for the construction a 940-million-dollar thermal power plant with a 1,300-megawatt capacity, he said.

Wahid said the ministry had sent a warning to a German company, which has been delaying the construction of new power stations in the southern city of Najaf.

The ministry also warned another multinational company over its failure to reconstruct power stations in the province of Bayji.

Wahid said the ministry's work in boosting the energy levels to more than 6,000-megawatts had been destroyed as a result of the unfair power distribution across the country and terrorist attacks.

"Once electricity is fairly distributed across the city, the power cut will be lessened to only two hours, instead of the systematic four-hour power cut," he said.

A few weeks ago Turkey cut the supply of 200 megawatts to the Iraqi Kurdish region, Wahid said.

Wahid said his ministry was exerting tremendous effort to ensure the provision of fuel supplies to Iraq, through deals with Iranian and Kuwaiti firms. These included a deal with Iran to provide Iraq with 600,000 litres of gasoline daily, in addition to at least 300,000 provided by Kuwait, he said.

Iraq's power output, currently at about 5,500 megawatts, falls far below its estimated needs of 9,000 megawatts.

Power outages and acute shortages, which are a huge source of public anger in the oil-rich country, are caused by frequent acts of sabotage targeting power plants.