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DATE 07 July 2003


PR No. 0014


Mesaa al khair. I am Paul Bremer, Administrator for the Coalition Provisional Authority. My number one priority remains, as always, security: providing the security which Iraq needs in order to rebuild. Those who reject progress in Iraq know that they are losing. They are now targeting you and the basic services like water and electricity which you need. If you have information about these renegades, you should tell a coalition military or civilian person. We have already hit them hard. And we will defeat them. Our second priority is to get the economy going again so that we can create jobs for you. Here , I have a couple of important announcements on the economy. First, I have just approved the Iraqi budget for the remainder of this year. This is a very important step in getting Iraq and Iraqis back to work. For the last few weeks, coalition officials have been working hard alongside Iraqi officials in all the ministries of state to put together a budget that will serve the Iraqi people. The officials who used to steal most of Iraq’s resources, and misuse what little was left, have gone. All of Iraq’s resources will now be spent on you, the Iraqi people, and on projects which directly benefit you. With this budget, ministries will be able to spend money on important projects. Many state companies will be able to begin operating again. Your budget allocates over 9 trillion to these key projects and the key challenges ahead. A little over half of the money will come from oil revenues. It is the coalitions policy that Iraq’s oil will finally be used for the benefit of all the Iraqi people.  I might add that the US government is contributing an additional 4 and a half trillion dinars towards the reconstruction of Iraq. The key priorities in the budget are to improve the lives of all Iraqis Some of the key areas are:
  • Projects in the areas of security and justice worth around 350 billion dinars
  • Improvements to the electricity system worth around 440 billion dinars
  • Construction and other reconstruction spending of around 385 billion dinars
  • Public health improvements worth around 315 billion dinars
  • Water and sewerage improvements worth around 110 billion dinars; and
  • Spending on telecommunications to the value of 225 billion dinars
Together, these programs will have an enormous impact on your lives. But some will take time to come into effect, so you and we, working together, will have to be patient. And, again, I want to stress that all this money will be spent in a way that the Iraqi people will know what it was spent on. For the first time, you will know what is being done with your money. Secondly, I am announcing today that the Coalition on behalf of the Iraqi people will print and distribute new banknotes for all of Iraq. Iraqis need banknotes which are both high quality and easy-to-use. Neither the so-called "print" dinars in circulation in most of Iraq, nor the formal national currency (or "Swiss" dinar) still used in some parts of the North are suitable. "Print dinars" are poor quality, and in practice circulate widely in only two denominations – the 250 dinar note, and the 10,000 dinar note. This makes them very inconvenient to use. The "Swiss" dinars, while of higher quality, are so old that they are literally falling apart in people’s hands. Everywhere I have traveled in recent weeks, Iraqis have told me about these problems. So I have consulted with Iraqi political, economic and business leaders to find a solution. The Solution is to print new bank notes. On October 15, new Iraqi dinar banknotes will be available to the Iraqi people. They will replace the existing Iraqi "print" dinars at parity: one new Iraqi dinar will be worth the same as one "print" dinar. The new dinar will replace the "Swiss" dinar at the rate of 150 new dinars to one Swiss dinar. These different rates reflect the different prices, expressed in local currency, in different parts of the country. For the first time in 12 years, all of Iraq will again use one set of banknotes. We have not designed a new currency for Iraq. Only a soverign Iraqi government could take that decision. So we have taken the designs from the former national dinar (the "Swiss" dinar). But the new notes will be impossible to confuse with the "Swiss" dinar, as both the colours and the denominations will be different. Let me show you an example [show slide]. The new dinars will be printed in a full range of denominations: in 50s; 250s; 1,000s; 5,000s; 10,000s; and 25,000s. They will be higher quality and last longer. They will be very hard to forge, and thus be notes in which all Iraqis can be confident. On 15 October, these new notes will be ready. Until then, you need do nothing. When the time comes we will provide practical instructions on how to trade your old notes for the new ones. After Oct 15 you will have three months to swap your existing notes for the new ones, so there will be no need to rush. There will be plenty of new notes available. And you won’t need to withdraw money from your bank accounts to change over to the new notes: that will be done automatically for you. Together, these two new developments underline that the coalition, working closely with Iraqis at all levels, is determined to improve the economy of this country, and the lives of all its citizens. Shahran


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