Iraqi bank loans support Mosul reconstruction
By Alaa Hussain in Baghdad
The Iraqi government has begun extending financial loans to industrialists and factory owners in Mosul to kickstart reconstruction activity.
The Industrial Bank of Iraq reopened its Mosul branch on April 18th after being closed for more than three years during the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) era, and will extend loans to industrialists in the province.
"The Iraqi government's decision to open the bank in Mosul demonstrates its desire to breathe life into Ninawa province's economic sectors," provincial governor Nawfal al-Akoub told Diyaruna.
The opening of the Industrial Bank of Iraq is a step in supporting the banking sector in the province, he said, noting that it was preceded by the opening of other banks in the city, most recently al-Aqari Bank (Real Estate Bank).
Supporting the private sector
The Industrial Bank of Iraq will grant loans and financial support to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the private sector in response to individual requests, Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) financial expert Aysar Jabbar told Diyaruna.
The loans will vary between 5 and 50 million Iraqi dinars ($4,000 to $40,000) per project, depending on the type of the project, at relatively low interest rates, and are to be paid off within six years, he said.
The Industrial Bank of Iraq has sufficient funds to cover the loan requests it receives, he noted, as it had previously earmarked a portion of the government-allocated 5 trillion dinars ($4 billion) it received for this purpose.
The federal government has allocated funds to all Iraqi banks to stimulate economic activity in the country.
"The bank staff in Mosul have been asked to reduce bureaucratic red tape as much as possible to facilitate procedures for borrowers," he said, while ensuring compliance with legal controls and constraints.
Most of the loans are likely to be issued to industrial projects in east Mosul, where the infrastructure is in much better shape than in the west.
Stimulating industrial activity
The issuance of loans will stimulate the industrial sector in Mosul and advance reconstruction activity, Jabbar said.
East Mosul is already beginning to see a remarkable growth of economic and commercial activity, he said, with shops and small industrial projects reopening.
In addition to this activity, international organisations and companies have launched a number of large projects in the city, which will help to revive the province's industrial sector.
Economic support should not be limited to Mosul, but should be extended to all other administrative districts of Ninawa province, Ninawa director of municipalities Abdul Qadir al-Dakhil told Diyaruna.
There are plans, for example, to open new branches of a number of government banks in Sinjar district to support economic activity there, he said.
In a statement, Ninawa Chamber of Commerce president Mohammed Ali praised the opening of the Industrial Bank of Iraq's Mosul branch.
He also called on the federal government to exempt industrialists from paying financial dues accrued during the ISIS era, and to support local industries by facilitating the movement of goods between provinces.