Iraq is planning to sell shares to the public in the $1.3 billion Grand Faw container port.
The Basra local government where the port is planned will seek permission in the next few days from the central government to set up a holding company to sell the shares, Sabah Al-Bazooni, head of the Basra provincial council, said in an interview.
Iraq has banned the holding company structure since the days of the late toppled leader Saddam Hussein.
Iraq originally proposed Grand Faw in 2011 for $17 billion. This was going to be fully covered by the government but this has changed due to the fall in oil price.
Since crude oil prices have dropped more than 70 percent, this has left the Iraq Government with a 24 trillion dinars ($20 billion) deficit.
The Basra provincial council wants to list the holding company on the Iraq Stock Exchange, with the public shares representing a 25 percent stake, Al-Bazooni said.
The local government would own 26 percent and foreign investors 49 percent, he said.
The council is in talks with U.S. and Chinese companies to invest in the projects.
Photo: Sourced from Trade Arabia