OPEC member Iraq is considering the creation of a sovereign wealth fund (SWF) similar to those in neighboring Gulf Arab oil producers to tap its crude wealth, a senior Iraqi official was quoted on Tuesday as saying.
The war-torn country, which controls the world’s fifth largest proven oil deposits, could support that fund with a sum equivalent to monthly payments deducted from its oil exports towards a compensation fund for Kuwait, the Prime Minister’s financial advisor Mudhar Saleh told the official Alsabah newspaper,
Saleh said Iraq, which invaded Kuwait in 1990 before it was ejected by a US-led international coalition, has almost completed payment of war damages under a UN resolution, adding that only $2.5 billion is left from the $52 billion damages decided by the UN Security Council.
“There is a proposal now to set up a sovereign wealth fund for Iraq…the proposal involves the deposit of a monthly sum of money equal to that deducted from oil sales for the Kuwaiti compensation fund as we are almost finished payment for that fund…this SWF will be a fund for future generations in Iraq,” Saleh said.
In January, oil exports fetched Iraq, OPEC’s second largest producer, about $4.4 billion.
(Writing by Nadim Kawach; Editing by Anoop Menon)
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