Iraqi Privatization Plan Two Years Away

From Iraq Today: Iraq’s new finance minister said on Thursday a clear framework for the privatisation of the country’s state industries would be in place in two years. Kamel al-Keylani, appointed last week by the US-backed Governing Council, said the idea of selling off Iraq’s state industries, particularly its prized oil sector, would first have to be sold to the Iraqi people. “The period is very clear, not less than two years,” Keylani told Reuters in an interview. “We will first identify which sectors can be privatised, lay the foundations and make sure the issue is acceptable to the Iraqi people.” After decades of highly centralised economic management under Saddam Hussein, privatisation is a sensitive issue for Iraqis. Many believe the US-led war which toppled Saddam in April was aimed at seizing control of Iraq’s oil reserves, second only to those of Saudi Arabia.