L. Paul Bremer, III
Coalition Provisional Authority
Transition: Ministry of Industry and Minerals
11 May 2004
Today the Ministry of Industry and Minerals returns to full autonomy. The
return of one of Iraq’s largest employers to Iraqi hands marks a significant
milestone on Iraq’s path to sovereignty now just 51 days away.
A year ago all of Iraq’s state-owned enterprises were dead in the water
following decades of mismanagement and theft compounded by looting. Today, Mr.
Minister, through your efforts and those of your staff many of the businesses
owned and operated by your ministry are again producing.
Mr. Minister, your insistence on sound business practices has begun to bear
fruit. By encouraging open communication and permitting the creativity of your
employees you have produced important results.
To cite only one example, the quantity and quality of production at the
petrochemical plant improved when you permitted employees to reengineer their
Mr. Minister, the Iraqi people owe you a special thanks for the forthright
manner in which you have acknowledged the dangers of corruption and worked to
When we asked you to suggest someone to is the inspector general for your
ministry, you declined, reminding us that you wanted someone completely
independent and I then appointed an Inspector General unknown to you. Your
public spirited insistence on transparency and honesty in government could serve
as a model for public servants anywhere.
Mr. Minister, working smoothly with your senior advisor Colonel Lettie Bien, you
have made this ministry a better servant of the Iraqi people by warding off or
detecting waste, fraud and abuse in the ministry and in the enterprises which
the ministry owns and operates.
Mr. Minister, reviving once moribund industries required concentration,
dedication and perseverance. And you have prepared your ministry for the great
challenges ahead, especially the big decisions about whether to privatize some
of those companies in the future.
But until that decision is made, Mr. Minister, every step you take toward
improving efficiencies, lowering costs, improving the quality of the workforce
helps the Iraqi people. If the elected government decides to keep the companies
the people will be well-served by these efficiencies. And if the elected
government chooses to sell the companies, the efficiencies will be reflected in
a higher price paid into the people’s treasury.
Mr. Minister, I salute you on and your able staff at your ministry on your
valuable contribution to the Iraqi people.
Mabruk al Iraq al Jadeed.