Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Iraq: Budget still not ratified

Iraqis are increasingly concerned that the 2011 budget still hasn't been ratified. Part of the reasons for the delay, aside from the objections made by the Kurds is because many MPs are objecting to the figures. There is a strong feeling that the budget is simply being sucked up by the state and that there is insufficient money being channelled into investment or development. Some 80 per cent of the budget is to go on operational costs.

Many people baulk at what they view as the excess costs and expenses of key public officials. They are particularly angered by the sums eaten up by what are known as the 'three presidencies' – the president, the prime minister and the head of parliament – which alone cost $2.421 billion a year. This is more than is allocated for some of the most important ministries, such as agriculture and industry. The expenses of the presidencies are not transparent and many feel that huge sums are being wasted on “secret expenses”. The local governorate councils are also protesting at the percentage of the budget allocated for them.

Therefore, despite attempts to rush this budget through parliament to release funds to pay essential costs for 2011, it looks as though many amendments are going to be demanded and will need to be dealt with by the cabinet before it can finally be passed.

For more news and expert analysis about Iraq, please see Iraq Focus.

© 2010 Menas Associates

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