Last week, we released the findings of yet another CIPE survey of the Iraqi business community. Why such a survey? Well, if you are going to do anything related to the economic rebuilding of the country shouldn’t you have an idea of what the private sector thinks? It helps to know business views because it is the private sector that must ultimately attract investment, create jobs, provide products and services, pay taxes, and become a key player in facilitating political stability.
So, working with our local partners, we went out and polled 1,630 Iraqi business owners. The sample was selected randomly from the registers of various Iraqi chambers of commerce and the Iraqi Businessmen Union. Although it is difficult task as one might imagine, we tried to cover the whole country – as a result, we surveyed business people in Baghdad (818 business people), Basra (121), Hilla (70), Kirkuk (42), Sulaymaniyah (510), and Arbil (69).
Some major findings:
- A significant majority of those polled believe that opening the country’s borders to international business will improve their businesses
- Apart from security, the most commonly perceived obstacle to economic growth is Iraq’s lack of legal and regulatory enforcement
- Iraqis are optimistic about the future. More than three-fourth of the business owners anticipate growth in the national economy over the next two years
- Almost half of the respondents say the business environment is better now than last year
- Four in ten Iraqi business leaders (39%) want to see more laws and regulations for business
- The number of Iraqi firms that employ women has significantly reduced in the last two years. In Fall 2005, 63% said they employed women; now, the number is 26%
- An overwhelming majority of all business leaders (84%) feel security is better now than the previous year
- The number one need of Iraq’s workforce is computer training (27%), followed by job opportunities (22%) and development of a better education system (12%)
And in a graphical form…
Business environment compared to last year:
Is the government transparent in awarding contracts?
How much does corruption add to the costs of doing business?
How do you pay for goods/services?
So corruption is costly, the government is rarely transparent in awarding contracts, but the business environment is still better this year than it was last year. For more information on the findings look at the: