Iraq reconstruction to start early

The United States expects the first set of contractors entrusted with contracts for rebuilding Iraq to be on the ground by early April.

    Rebuilding Iraq is a money spinner for firms like Halliburton

    Retired Admiral David Nash, the top official overseeing the $18.6 billion contracts, said he did not expect major delays in future.

    The US opened up bidding last week for the first string of lucrative new contracts, worth $5 billion, after more than a month's delay.

    "Hopefully we'll have contractors on the ground at the latest in late March, early April," Nash, who heads the Pentagon-run Programme Management Office, said.

    Fast track

    "The way the contracts are set we are encouraging them to mobilize very quickly because we need to get to work very quickly," he said.


    "Hopefully we'll have contractors on the ground at the latest in late March, early April"

    Admiral David Nash
    Programme Management Office


    The bids for prime reconstruction contracts covering electricity, water, buildings, security and justice and transportation and communication are due in February and Nash said he expected them to be awarded by early March.

    Criticism

    The first round of Iraq contracts were heavily criticised with US lawmakers alleging favouritism. The most controversial was the contracts awarded to Halliburton, an oil services company once run by US Vice-President Dick Cheney.

    Nash however said there would be several layers of monitoring to ensure fair competition and discourage corruption.

    "We are going to have lots of oversight," he said.

    It was not clear how much of the reconstruction work would go to Iraqi companies, who have complained of being ignored.

    While Iraqi firms have been awarded many sub-contracts, these have tended to be on smaller projects.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Meet the deported nurse aiding asylum seekers at US-Mexico border

    Meet the deported nurse helping refugees at the border

    Francisco 'Panchito' Olachea drives a beat-up ambulance around Nogales, taking care of those trying to get to the US.

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    How a homegrown burger joint pioneered a food revolution and decades later gave a young, politicised class its identity.

    'We will cut your throats': The anatomy of Greece's lynch mobs

    The brutality of Greece's racist lynch mobs

    With anti-migrant violence hitting a fever pitch, victims ask why Greek authorities have carried out so few arrests.