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The economic reconstruction of Iraq includes broad regulatory reform to move from a socialist to a market economy. The Government of Iraq (GoI) has decided to launch a program of systemic reform to update its legal/regulatory policies and policy instruments, stimulate market-driven growth in the private sector, and boost national competitiveness. As part of the USAID-funded Iraq National and Provincial Administrative Reform Project, Jacobs, Cordova & Associates is designing a broad Regulatory Guillotine™, using international best practices, at the national level to count, review, and improve the national regulatory framework affecting business activity and the lives of citizens. The GoI has decided to name this reform ISRAR (Iraq Solution for Regulatory and Administrative Reform), which means in Arabic “determination”. The ISRAR reform, to operate from 2012-2014, will be operated by Iraqi reform units, overseen by the Iraqi government, and operating under Iraqi law and constitutional frameworks.

The first target was to improve business registration and construction permitting in Iraq.

Through a public-private working group, we have proposed comprehensive and   practical approaches to rapidly reforming construction permit procedures. The specific recommendations that the Amanat and Ministry of Municipalities are beginning implementation of are as follows:

  • Moving pre-approvals responsibility from infrastructure ministries and to local municipal offices
  • Setting official timelines for issuing approvals and making approval automatic after the deadline is passed.
  • Decentralizing permitting for buildings less than 1000m2 to local municipal offices
  • Using a single point of contact, so only one employee is responsible for processing each building application.

For business registration, JC&A developed the “as is” and “to be” process maps, and put forward a comprehensive package to the Government late in 2012 that, once fully implemented, will bring Iraq from 176 on the Doing Business indicators to around 80. By May 2013, the Government has implemented many of the recommendations and was moving ahead on the remainder.

Iraq, USAID under contract to MSI, 2011-2014.