Jiyad: Iraqi Oil Ministry Abandons Transparency, Reneges On Obligations

(MENAFN- Iraq Business News) By Ahmed Mousa Jiyad. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News .

The Iraqi Ministry of Oil Abandons Transparency, Denies Iraqis their Constitutional Rights and Reneges on International Obligations

Both the Ministry of Oil and the State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO) recently published data that included volume of Iraq's oil exports for the month of February 2024, without providing revenues from those exports or the average price of a barrel.

This unfortunate and unjustified action of both the Ministry and SOMO to withhold oil revenue data constitutes a blatant actual violation of what the Iraqi Constitution aims to enhance the rights of the Iraqi people- the true owners of oil and gas wealth.

Moreover, this manifests the Ministry's failure to adhere to the ministerial program of the Al-Sudani Government, disregards compliance with Iraq's international obligations under the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). Also, the Ministry contradicts its own recent directives, and abandoning its regular practice that has been continuing since 2008. Hence, the ministry returns back 37 years when the abhorrent "secrecy of information" prevented the disclosure of oil export revenues and prices.

All of these violations constitute a strong material basis that justifies, and even necessitates, appealing to the Federal Supreme Court to oblige both the Ministry and SOMO to retract these wrong, unconstitutional practises and republish all and full details related to the quantities, prices, and revenues of monthly oil exports from all sea and land export outlets.

Recently, I published and widely circulated detailed article on this topic. Briefly, the article presents what indicates an official admission by the Ministry of Oil that it no longer believes in informing the Iraqi people of everything related to oil export revenues and prices. Then it argues that such conduct contradicts many articles of the current Constitution and the adopted government program and arrives at an emphasis on the possibility of intervention and responsibility by both the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister to remedy such wrongdoing, by forcing the Minister of Oil and the Director General of the Oil Marketing Company - SOMO to retract their practices that contradict the Constitution.

After that, the article refers to Chapter Six, "Oil Revenue Management," of the Federal Financial Management Law No. 6 of 2019, which obligates both the Ministry of Oil and its affiliated oil companies to submit monthly detailed data related to oil revenues to the Ministry of Finance. Then, it asserts that the Ministry of Oil actually contradicts its own directives and constitutes a reneging on Iraq's international obligations and commitments under EITI.

That is followed by a very brief review of the decline pattern of transparency in the Ministry's work, which effectively has returned the situation to worse than it was about four decades ago. The article concludes with the necessity of resorting to the Federal Supreme Court to invalidate these damaging backward practices of the Ministry and its violations of the Constitution.

The article written in Arabic can be accessed through one of the following links:

Mr Jiyad is an independent development consultant, scholar and Associate with the former Centre for Global Energy Studies (CGES) , London. He was formerly a senior economist with the Iraq National Oil Company and Iraq's Ministry of Oil, Chief Expert for the Council of Ministers, Director at the Ministry of Trade, and International Specialist with UN organizations in Uganda, Sudan and Jordan. He is now based in Norway (Email: mou-jiya(at)online, Skype ID: Ahmed Mousa Jiyad). Read more of Mr Jiyad's biography here .


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