The American Blueprint for Iraq
May 1, 2003
The Bush administration envisions sweeping reforms of Iraq's economy, based on free-market principles and carried out by private contractors. The consulting work could be valued at as much as $70 million for the first year.
The American blueprint for rebuilding Iraq calls for:
- Mass privatization of Iraqi industry, including the liquidation of some insolvent Iraqi companies, while assessing others for possible sale.
- Selling some state companies through "a broad-based Mass Privatization Program," which could distribute ownership vouchers to ordinary Iraqi citizens, similar to a program used in Russia in the mid-1990s.
- Building a consensus for the privatization of Iraq's oil industry, and then transferring assets over the following three years.
- Converting Iraq's rudimentary prewar stock market, within a year, into a "world-class exchange" for trading the shares of newly privatized companies.
- Designing by year's end "a comprehensive income tax system consistent with current international practice,"
The plan makes scant mention of any involvement of multilateral organizations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, both key players in similar reform efforts in Russia and Eastern Europe. Still, Bush administration officials have said they would welcome World Bank and IMF help in Iraq, but how those would be reconciled with projects such as the AID restructuring blueprint remains unclear.
Source: Neil King Jr., "Bush Officials Devise a Broad Plan For Free-Market Economy in Iraq," Wall Street Journal, May 1, 2003.
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