Parliamentarians welcome foreign oil tax

BAGHDAD / Parliamentarians of the oil, gas, and economic committees welcomed the decision to impose a 35-percent income tax on foreign oil companies working in Iraq , noting that the decision will help boosting the economy. “ Imposing the tax on revenues of oil companies will help boosting the Iraqi economy,” member of the finance committee from the Kurdistan Islamic Union, Sami al-Atroushi, told Iraqi News. “There are some draft laws which will work to increase Iraq’s revenues, including imposing tax es on the foreign oil companies working in Iraq, and there are some other laws which will help the Iraqi economy, including the customs tariffs law and the unified tax law,” al-Atroushi explained. “Imposing a tax of 35 percent of the oil companies’ revenues is not much in this time, but I expect that this percentage will increase because the government wanted to attract oil companies to invest in Iraq ,” he added. Iraq ‘s parliament held an initial discussion on Saturday of a bill that would impose a 35-percent income tax on foreign oil and gas firms working in Iraq . Iraq , which has the world’s third biggest oil reserves but needs foreign cash to modernise its struggling industry, has been courting top global firms to develop oil and gas fields. The Oil Ministry is scheduled to hold its second major energy auction this year in December, when it will offer up 10 major oilfields for bids from 45 qualified firms. The tax bill will require a second reading in parliament before it can go to a vote, but lawmakers are not expected to vote on the measure before the holiday marking the end of the Muslim holy month, Ramadan, later this month. For his part, Abdulhadi al-Hassani, head of the oil and gas committee from the United Iraqi Alliance, said that imposing the 35 percent income tax on foreign oil firms came after an agreement between the government and the companies. “This percentage is acceptable and it will foster the Iraqi economy because it will increase the Iraqi financial revenues,” he underlined. “ The law harmonizes with other tax laws in the world,” the legislator noted. SH (S)/SR 2

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