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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 production line.

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 overcome them.

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.
Aash al-Iraq!

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