Andrew Natsios, USAID Administrator

This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, March 28, 2003, that was edited for clarity. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.

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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: For companies that want to get in on rebuilding Iraq, my next guest is the one who may be calling the shots. Joining us now is Andrew Natsios, administrator for the Agency for International Development.

Andrew, good to have you.


CAVUTO: What are we looking at here cost-wise in rebuilding Iraq? I guess a lot depends on what we damage, right?

NATSIOS: Well, one, most of this is not going to be rebuilding what was damaged during the war because the policy of the administration, in the way we are carrying out is to target only military facilities, secret police facilities. We don't want the secret police facilities rebuilt after the war.

CAVUTO: Yeah. But we know of other things, maybe, intentionally or accidentally that have been damaged.

NATSIOS: There have been. But the major focus of our rebuilding is the educational system, the schools, the hospitals.

CAVUTO: How much is that going to cost?

NATSIOS: We don't know because we haven't been in the country to actually assess what we are seeing. We have done it based on intelligence estimates and scholarship and expatriate community. But we need to go in and assess it. We have made an estimate based on the knowledge we do have.  It is an educated guess from technical experts who reviewed the material.  And the president's budget, which he submitted to Congress, for $2.4 billion, will handle the next year of reconstruction. But after that we expect that revenues from oil will begin to flow into national government's treasury, and the people of Iraq, through a representative government that represents them will benefit.

CAVUTO: Would you give the job to French companies?

NATSIOS: Would I? The way in which we have bid our contracts is that American companies are the prime contractors. And the reason for that, first, is that we have to have companies with security clearances. Because when we started doing this process two months ago, we had to have companies with security clearance because they were looking at top secret material in some cases.

CAVUTO: Andrew Natsios, I'm sorry, that is all time we have. I want to thank you, though, very much, good perspective on this.

NATSIOS: Thank you.

CAVUTO: Andrew Natsios.

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