Basra, Iraq governor seeking more investments from PH
BASRA, Iraq — After a Filipino company poured in $130 million to develop Iraq’s largest port, the governor of this oil-rich southern province wants the Philippines to seriously consider sending in more investments.
“We want more investments from the Philippines,” Governor Majid Al-Nasrawi said during a recent courtesy call by Chargé d’Affaires Elmer Cato of the Philippine Embassy in Baghdad. “There are numerous investment opportunities here for Filipino companies.”
During their meeting, Al-Nasrawi assured Cato that Basra and the rest of southern Iraq remain safe for investors as the region is far from the conflict that continues to rage in the northern and western parts of Iraq.
“Basra is safe,” he said. “There is nothing to worry about. There are no serious security issues here.”
Al-Nasrawi was all praises for the International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI), a Manila-based global port operator, which is investing $130 million to expand the country’s main port in Umm Qasr. ICTSI’s Basra Gateway Terminal Project, which is considered to be the largest private investment in Iraqi ports, will be fully operational next year.
“ICTSI has made a good impression for the Philippines because of its huge investment and its professional way of doing business,” Al-Nasrawy told Cato, adding that the Filipino company has been constantly delivering on its commitments.
Aside from the oil sector, the other area that Al-Nasrawi said Filipino companies may wish to invest in is infrastructure. He said Basra has the budget to spend for the construction and rehabilitation of roads and bridges; power generation; rehabilitation of rivers; and housing.
He said the Basra Provincial Council has a budget of $5.7 billion to develop infrastructure and other facilities. The World Bank has also recently agreed to provide $350 million to fund the construction of a new road network to Umm Qasr port.
Al-Nasrawi also disclosed his plans to further develop Basra’s health sector so that his constituents would no longer have to go abroad for medical treatment. He cited the recent construction of a modern hospital, which, he said, would require specialists and other health workers from other countries.
Al-Nasrawi, who is a medical doctor, said he would welcome Filipino doctors and nurses in Basra because they are among the best. He also said that he is aware that the Philippines has world-class medical facilities and that he would like to send some of his constituents to Manila for treatment.
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