Iraq suffers rampant corruption in government bodies, which has led to the loss of the expected Iraqi oil gains, despite optimism regarding oil revenues.
Iraqis expect good oil profits, but they do not hope their living conditions will improve in light of the corruption that afflicts those in charge of the government.
Iraq also suffers from a financial and living crisis, which led to a major electricity crisis, despite the oil fields that spread over the lands of Iraq.
Iraqi oil gains
The Coronavirus pandemic has increased the living difficulties of the Iraqis. This prompted the government to take austerity measures that increased the suffering of many, including delaying the salaries of employees, and sharply reducing the value of the dinar against the US dollar.
Prices of various commodities surged and the citizens’ purchasing power declined.
The government did not disclose its plans to deal with the increase in oil prices that touched $70 a barrel, and how to invest the achieved increases. The prices had plunged during the first months of the Coronavirus crisis to about $20 a barrel.
In turn, a member of the Parliamentary Finance Committee, Riyad Al-Masoudi, said, “Iraq does not suffer a financial crisis as much as it suffers mismanagement of funds, and the government is responsible for that”.
“According to the law, the government is the one that prepares the budget and development plans, and it has to lay down plans commensurate with the increase in oil revenues,” he added.
Al-Masoudi stressed “the importance of developing plans to professionally manage funds and classify them according to the country’s need.”
He said, “if funds are not allocated for the development of productive sectors; with no less than 20% of the budget to establish factories, airports, railways and scientific agriculture; Iraq will continue to suffer economic turmoil.
In turn, former minister Abdul Hussein Abtan said that the government must take steps to alleviate the suffering of the citizens.
He said in a tweet: “Austerity steps in government allocations should have been followed instead of lowering the dinar value and increasing the burden on citizens… Now, after the rise in oil prices, its value should be returned to its previous exchange rate to save people and alleviate their suffering.”
Economic specialists link ending the financial crisis consequences by several steps, most importantly ending corruption.
Meanwhile, economist Basem Antoine said: “High oil prices will reduce the budget deficit by at least one and a half trillion dinars. If this was managed well, there is a possibility for production and investment, reducing the deficit and reducing the debts and the benefits that accrue from them”.
He added that “all of this requires a real will, but on the condition of ending corruption”.