What would you say are the Ministry of Finance and Economy’s goals or objectives for 2013?
Our current goals are to systemize the banking sector, as well as to computerize activities relating to customs, taxes, and retirement funds. We are also working to implement the current investment budget to help create employment opportunities and rehabilitate economic infrastructure. In addition, providing as much of the budget as possible for the social insurance, agriculture, industry, higher education, education, health, and electricity sectors. The Ministry of Finance and Economy allocates funds to build factories and investment projects in the fields of agriculture, industry, and trade. These types of projects can have a significant impact on economic growth.

What infrastructural development are you most pleased with?
I am most pleased with agricultural growth because I believe it can be a contributing source for many other sectors including industry, trade, transportation, and tourism.

What are your expectations for the Erbil Stock Exchange?
The Stock Market has been initiated, but is still a very new phenomenon. My hope is that large companies will become actively involved in it, which will obviously generate more trust from smaller or local companies.

What role do you believe foreign banks should play in developing the financial sector of the Kurdistan Region?
I believe the biggest role that foreign banks can play is in using their capital to promote further development in the priority investment sectors. These include agriculture, education, transportation, industry, and tourism. In addition, giving loans with minimal rates could also help further development the financial sector.

Looking at the local banks, do you believe the services and staff are sufficient to satisfy growing demand, or is further development or training necessary?
Training is fundamental for each and every member of the banking community. However, our employees require more training than their counterparts in other countries. This training can occur both inside and outside of the country, because our employees need to be familiar with the changes taking place in the Iraqi financial sector as well as the progress made in the international arena. To establish themselves as reliable performers, our banks must continue to pursue training opportunities wherever they are available.