IMF Criticizes as Iraqi President Approves Record $152 Billion Budget

Iraqi President Abdul Latif Rashid approved on Wednesday an unprecedented $152 billion budget voted by parliament earlier this month, adding about half a million public sector jobs.

In detail, President Abdul Latif Rashid approved a budget that was expected to run a $48 billion deficit as Parliament voted on the project last week after six months of a fiscal year and months of negotiations.

Rashid praised the budget and called it a turning point in the government’s implementation of its program, which includes providing for the basic needs of citizens, providing basic services such as health and education, rebuilding infrastructure and launching vital strategic projects.

At the same time, the subject of disagreement during the negotiations was the issue of the distribution of oil revenues between the central government in Baghdad and the region of Iraqi Kurdistan.

For its part, the project, agreed with the Baghdad authorities, confirms the oil sector and allocates 12.6% of the revenues to the semi-autonomous Kurdish region, since the Iraqi Kurdish government will be allowed to sell its oil, but it will have to deposit the revenues first go to a bank account, which can follow central government officials. Baghdad will then deduct this amount from its monthly appropriation to the Kurdish government and transfer any surplus to it.

It is worth noting that the budget, approved for the same amount for 2024 and 2025, provides for large spending on wage increases and investments in reconstruction projects after years of conflict.

At the same time, the Iraqi Interior Ministry announced the recruitment of about 37,100 police officers for three years with a monthly salary of 500,000 Iraqi dinars (about $377).

While optimistic revenue expectations and the creation of more than half a million new jobs have drawn criticism, as the International Monetary Fund warned in a recent report of “financial decline” and Baghdad’s heavy reliance on oil revenues, calling on the Iraqi government to pursue a tighter fiscal policy.

Source: “AB”

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