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The head of the Iraqi Private Banks Association, Wadih al-Handal, confirmed that Iraqi banks are continuing the procedures for transforming towards a cashless society in Iraq by increasing financial inclusion, indicating that the association, in cooperation with the Central Bank of Iraq, has succeeded in moving the economic and financial cycle in the country.
Al-Handal said in a speech during his participation in the scientific conference of the Ministry of Finance entitled (The title of the conference is reforming the banking sector, our way to achieve economic advancement) on (November 23, 2022). And its executive departments and their wishes for success and success so that the conference comes out with important recommendations for the development and reform of the Iraqi banking sector and its transfer from banking business to an active contribution to sustainable development. The number of private banks currently operating in the Iraqi market is about 73 private banks and their branches reach about 500 branches that provide various banking services For individuals and companies in all governorates.
He added, "Most of the private banks have proven their ability, sobriety, and national stances during the last period from which Iraq suffered from crises, economic challenges, economic stagnation, and the Corona delinquency, and their continuation of daily work without stopping, despite the total closure of the economy and its institutions operating globally and locally during the pandemic, which is a positive case that is calculated for our banks in crises." Evidence for this is the maintenance of communication with the instructions, directives and implementation of the Central Bank's initiatives, which contributed to supporting the economy and revitalizing the economic cycle during the economic and security shocks in mid-2014 due to the drop in global oil prices and the fight against the terrorist ISIS, and in 2020 they were affected by the Corona pandemic, the drop in oil prices as well, and the economic closure In most countries of the world, including Iraq.
Al-Handal continued, "The Association of Banks is a civil society organization founded in 2004, and most private banks have joined in its membership. It works in partnership and cooperation with the Central Bank of Iraq to develop the banking sector, in a way that contributes to supporting the national economy and sustainable development through the development of microfinance projects, rehabilitating youth, and creating a suitable environment." And a stimulus for entrepreneurship despite the conditions and challenges above and the difficulties it faced, but it was able to develop and catch up with the global banking development through the technical and technical banking developments that were planned by the Central Bank of Iraq and adopted by the Association and implemented by the banks with great interaction and focus on strict adherence to international standards in regulations and rules of compliance and combating Money laundering, terrorist financing and banking risk management.
He pointed out that "steps of development in cooperation with the Central Bank and the Association of Iraqi Private Banks contributed to improving the performance efficiency of most banks, and the issue of good governance and management was in accordance with the governance guide issued by the Central Bank, as well as training and qualifying banking human resources, focusing on youth and recent graduates, and training up to 5,000 trainees in training courses." To develop capabilities, in coordination with the Center for Banking Studies at the Central Bank, based on the goal of investing in human capital, which is one of the objectives of the first and second strategies of the Central Bank, in specialized courses in governance, compliance, international standards, combating money laundering and terrorist financing, international accounting standards, Islamic banking and risk management.
The head of the Association of Iraqi Private Banks explained that "despite the challenges, the Iraqi banking sector has developed structurally, structurally and technically over the past five years through its contribution to economic activities that have a direct developmental impact on achieving sustainable development as stated in the National Development Plan (2018-2022) and Iraq's vision." 2030 And based on our keenness as a private banking sector that constitutes the first basic link in the economy, we are participating today in this conference for the purpose of strengthening the role of private banks in sustainable development and supporting the national economy, based on what was stated in the reform and development goals that the new government seeks to implement in accordance with what was stated in the government program and an attempt to address The notes diagnosed in the reports of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund on the Iraqi economy.
He pointed out that "one of the main activities of the banking sector, which the Association is working to follow up on implementing its procedures and projects, is working to encourage and stimulate financial inclusion operations and try to raise its rate in Iraq through the adoption of the salary localization project, which is a step to reduce the use of cash and the trend towards the growth of the cashless society, where the rate of cash has increased." Financial inclusion from 11% to 33.5%.
In addition to "working on implementing the Central Bank's plans to activate the economic cycle, achieve economic stability, and implement the Central Bank's financing initiatives, for which the Central Bank allocated an amount of 18 trillion dinars, which contributed to the operation and development of more than 26,000 small and medium projects and financing the establishment of more than 150,000 housing units and the operation of more than 60,000 Unemployed and increased bank financing granted to small, medium, large and housing projects, in which he contributed to the implementation of up to 50 banks, in addition to that the active role played by the Association in urging, following up and encouraging banks to contribute to the implementation of community initiatives, which had a significant impact on achieving the social goal of the banking sector Through the Tamkeen Fund initiative, where many community and development initiatives have been implemented in Baghdad and the provinces, exceeding 1,000 cultural, community and humanitarian projects.
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