Within the Arab Observer project, which was held in Baghdad on Thursday, March 11, 2021, at the Petroleum Cultural Center, and witnessed a distinguished presence of academic, economic and trade union personalities in addition to a number of activists and journalists, Tammuz Organization for Social Development, in cooperation with the Arab NGO Network for Development, held a national workshop to discuss the Iraq report on private sector accountability.
The workshop started with a welcoming speech from our colleague Vian Sheikh Ali, head of the Tammuz Organization, which is known as Tammuz Organization for Social Development and the Arab NGO Network for Development, and the aim of holding this workshop is to discuss the national report on the accountability of the private sector prepared by Dr. Hassan Latif Al-Zubaidi, before its adoption within the Arab Observer project, which includes reports from ten Arab countries on the same topic.
After that, Dr. Hassan Latif Al-Zubaidi gave a presentation on the report on accountability of the private sector, explaining the most important objectives of the report, including raising accountability of the private sector for its activities and analyzing public policies that affect accountability itself, besides the human rights standards that can be drawn to achieve accountability.
The report included two main sections: the first talks about the state and the private sector and the challenges associated with sustainable development and the development of this sector, referring to the role of the government and the private sector in terms of government strategies and its financial, monetary and commercial policies, and other policies such as agricultural and educational, as the proportion of education spending still represents 0.001, i.e. one in a thousand, and also Contributions of the business sector to job generation, wage gaps, gender equality and research and development. The report also touched upon the absence of governance in the private sector.
The second section discussed a critical analysis of three studies for one case that dealt with the sectors in which the private sector could rise, the crisis of renewing the mobile telecommunications license, in addition to the problem of the private sector’s role in the electricity production and distribution sector.
At the end of the presentation, Dr. Hassan Al-Zubaidi identified a set of conclusions and recommendations, the most important of which is the need to hold the private sector accountable with regard to child labor, the quality of services, and the strengthening of the private sector’s commitment to accountability work contracts and linking them to sustainable development. Accountability must be framed with an appropriate legal framework that allows organizations and everyone to be held accountable.
Then the door was opened for discussion and interventions were provided by the attendees, and it varied and addressed many of the problems facing the Iraqi economy and sustainable development. Regarding the topic of the report, the following observations were drawn:
– The necessity to include the tourism sector, which suffers from neglect, despite its importance in providing important financial revenues for the state.
– The necessity to include the banking sector in the report as one of the pioneering sectors.
– The need to link the study with Goal 17 of the Sustainable Development Goals.
There is a deficiency in the legislative base regulating the work of the private sector and its governance and accountability.
Emphasizing that the biggest challenge facing the private sector and development is the political challenges.
The need to institutionalize accountability and oversight.
– Emphasizing that the Iraqi economy is a distorted economy, and the private sector is a parasitic sector, and thus it is difficult to carry out the advancement of the economy and the private sector without clarity on the shape of the economic system in Iraq.
There is a crisis of confidence between the public and the private sector.
The failure to implement the tax law in Iraq, which needs to be activated with proposals for a settlement or reconciliation in the payment of tax dues, and the start of a new phase in which the state benefits from tax revenues.
– The report did not mention the unorganized sector, which today faces a disaster after the control of the Corona pandemic, and the focus is on the social dimensions of this damage.
– Criticism of the state’s policy of raising the dollar’s exchange rate and its impact on the poor segment, in addition to that it is a useless measure.
It should be noted that all the parties that participated in the discussion symposium of the Arab Observer Report on the accountability of the private sector 2021 confirmed the seriousness of the raised issues and their importance in relation to the Iraqi issue, which has been facing exceptional circumstances with the accumulation of crises and imbalances in all aspects, so they are waiting with anticipation of the outcome of this report.
It should be noted that all the parties that participated in the discussion seminar for “the Arab observer report on accountability of the private sector 2021”, confirmed the seriousness of the raised issues and their importance in relation to the Iraqi issue, which is facing exceptional circumstances with the accumulation of crises and imbalances in all aspects, so they are waiting with anticipation of the outcome of this report. And the advocacy that we all adopt in the cause of sustainable development, and what strengthens it, especially with regard to accountability of the private sector and the promotion of transparency in various aspects related to good governance.
At the end of the workshop, Dr. Hassan Al-Zubaidi answered all the observations and suggestions, which he stressed during his intervention that he adopted many observations and recommendations in amending the report, explaining that he did not address many details related to the problems of the economy and the private sector in Iraq due to the presence of determinants of the report within the Arab Observer, stressing the importance of The role of non-governmental organizations in holding the private sector accountable and subjecting it to supervision in a way that secures a positive role for them in the sustainable development process and achieving its goals. Accountability should be guided by the values of justice, democracy, human rights and development philosophy, and to make human dignity and the right to live a decent life its overriding goal.
Tammuz Organization for Social Development
16 March 2021