U.S. Ambassador Jones Opening Remarks Ministry of Planning Event

Besmellah al-Rahman al-Rahim, sabah al-Khier.

Excellency Minister of Planning Salman al-Jumayli,

Dr. Mahdi al-Allaq,

Deputy Minister Qasim Enaia,

Deputy Minister Maher Hamad Johan,

Director General Azhar Hussein,

Esteemed guests;

Before I begin my remarks today, I want to echo what was said by his Excellency the Minister of Planning, Salman al-Jumayli. On behalf of my government, I want to recognize and express my admiration for the bravery of the Iraqi security forces who are fighting now in Fallujah. And, I want to also recognize the leadership of his Excellency the Prime Minister, the Commander-in-Chief who as the Minister said has been on the front lines for several days. I also want to recognize Minister Jumayli’s contribution for laying the ground work for this operation and working with the people of Fallujah. And, I also want to convey the strong support of my government – not only for the security forces, not only for the brave fighters in Fallujah – but, also for the humanitarian work that will be necessary immediately following this important offensive.

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s a great pleasure for me to be here today also to celebrate the launch of two important projects.  These are of course:

  • The Ministry of Planning’s electronic system for managing Iraq’s capital investments budget, known as the Iraq Development Management System; and
  • The reformed contracting system that requires use of standard bidding documents.

These initiatives – which will operate at both the national and provincial levels, will improve the delivery of services to the Iraqi people.

These reforms integrate the principles of transparency, fairness, and efficiency – which are hallmarks of good governance.

We are proud that these results have been achieved through our partnership with the Government of Iraq.

Thanks to the cooperation between the Ministry of Planning and Tarabot, and thanks to the leadership of his Excellency Salman al-Jumayli, standardized bidding documents will enhance fair and open procurement.

They enable your government to enter into sound contracts with reputable contractors.

They also significantly reduce delays, corruption, and waste.

These measures will enable Iraq to integrate further into the global economy, to improve its competitiveness, and to establish partnerships with international businesses.

Let me give you one example: This partnership, these projects have enabled the Babil Governor’s Office to carry out a $30 million infrastructure project to rehabilitate four neighborhoods in Hilla.

By 2018, Hilla will have improved roads, improved water, improved electricity and improved telephone networks.

This will improve the lives for tens of thousands of Iraqis. That ladies and gentlemen is our primary objective.

The U.S. partnership also enables the Ministry of Transportation to execute a $375 million tender to procure eight vessels – including three bulk carriers, three container vessels, and two tugboats.

Recently we also supported the Ministry of Oil’s South Oil Company to develop a tender for purchasing six tugboats.

The launch of the Iraq Development Management System provides the government with oversight over its $400 billion capital investment budget.

This system will enable Iraqi officials to resolve implementation delays that have stalled nearly 4,000 projects.

For the first time in Iraq’s history, planners can clearly see what is working, what is not, and who is responsible.

Transparent procurement and effective management of Iraq’s capital investment budget will lead to economic improvements and new jobs.

Strategic capital investment projects will be completed more quickly.

Roads, buildings, pipelines, water systems, and power plants – can be contracted fairly.

So, again, I want to take this opportunity to commend his Excellency the Minister, to commend the staff at the Ministry of Planning and all of our partners in Tarabot for this tremendous achievement that we recognize today.

Ladies and gentlemen, we believe if these reforms can be implemented effectively, this will improve the lives of Iraqis. Again, I say to you that this is the goal of the United States and I know that it’s the goal of everyone in this room.

Shukran Jazealan.