A view on the first KRG Development Strategy / 2nd Kurdish World Congress

2012-10-22  – ARARAT NEWS – By Lorin Sarkisian and Roni Alasor, Ararat News-Publishing (ANP),  22 October 2012 – Brussels

During World Kurdish Congress 2012 in Erbil, Prof. Almas Heshmati made a critical review of the first Regional Development Strategy for Kurdistan Region. Prof. Heshmati encouraged KRG for its efforts to develop Kurdistan Region and to overcome the current weaknesses.

Prof. Heshmati: The first KRG Development Strategy is a source of inspiration for Kurds: –  World Kurdish Congress 2012 with the participation of over 600 Kurdish and foreign scientists successfully ended in the Kurdish capital Erbil. Ararat News-Publishing (ANP) will continue the coverage of the event with summary of some of the most interesting presentations on the Congress.

Almas Heshmati, Professor of Applied Economics from College of Life Sciences and Biotechnology,Korea University, Seoul, made a critical review of the first Regional Development Strategy for Kurdistan covering the period 2012-2016. Heshmati summarized the strengths and the weaknesses of the document, as well as made some concrete recommendations to the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to overcome the weaknesses.

Heshmati started his presentation with short background of the first Regional Development Strategy for Kurdistan Region. It was released in March 2011 by the Kurdish Ministry of Planning and it covers the period 2012-2016. Heshmati underlined that: “The first 5‐year Development Strategy is a historical documentand a source of pride and inspiration forKurds who despite large number and inhabitingresources rich land area are lagging behind in beingself‐sufficient in governing, planning and management”.

Each chapter of the strategy covers different sectors, including macroeconomics, agriculture, industry, health, education, governance, and the private sector. Each sector is described by providing general information, current strategic challenges and future trends.

“This strategy can be particularly useful for public and private decision makers, social planners, investors, researchers and the education sector”, précised Heshmati.

However, the Kurdish Prof. Heshmati pointed out also some weaknesses of the strategy. Among them, the lack of Bureau of Statistics and updated statistical databases, the absence of strong team of experts in different fields, the necessity of analyse of the interdependence between different sectors of the economy.

Heshmati encouraged the Kurdish Regional Government for their economy policy, but he underlined that “little emphasis is made on assessment of political, security, legal, economic, welfare, technological, financial, management, environmental and social aspects of the signed oil and gas contracts and other large public and private projects”.

The Kurdish economist analyzed the current public revenue source and noted that “It is not diversified and it implies a high degree of dependency on oil price and exchange rate development as well as revenue sharing mechanism and collaboration with the central Government”. Heshmati warned that if the sources of public revenues are not diversified, there will be an increased risk for putting in danger the economy system and progress of Kurdistan Region.

In conclusion, Heshmati said that the preparation of the 2nd Development Strategy for 2017‐2021 should be based on the analyses of Research Departments established in each Ministry. The economist Heshmati invited KRG to establish a National Research Institute to conduct researches covering the whole economy and the sector interdependence: “The Institute will serve as a think tank for the government in its economic policy formulation and implementation. It will help to redirect the current Business‐driven strategy to a National interest‐driven development strategy” where university can play a bigger rule.

The full review article can be requested from the author at: heshmati@korea.ac.kr