Iraqis are floating on oil … and sinking into poverty, unemployment and corruption
Amid growing living crises and rising regional political divisions, thousands of Iraqis took to the streets , demanding intuitive rights: jobs, social justice, and a halt to corruption .
The homes of Iraqis lack safe drinking water and electricity, and the quality of public services is so low that citizens have no confidence in getting out of hospitals alive, amid a significant drop in education levels. Decrepit roads, infrastructure and transportation often do not suggest that the country receives billions of dollars a month in oil sales.
Since 2004, Iraq’s national income has been estimated at more than $ 1 trillion, depending on oil revenues exported in the same period.In addition, governments after the occupation received nearly $ 200 billion in grants, loans and various assistance, most of which came from the United States and various European countries.
According to official figures from the Iraqi Ministry of Planning that the country’s poverty rate reached 22.5% in 2019, which was confirmed by the ministry’s spokesman, Abdul Zahra al-Hindawi, earlier. That is, about a quarter of Iraqis are poorIn figures, 8.6 million people suffer from poverty in this oil country.
Iraq is one of the largest Arab countries producing oil, and Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luaibi revealed in August that his country is working to raise production in the coming years to 7.5 million barrels per day, up from about 4.5 million barrels per day now. The size of Iraq’s proven oil reserves is about 112 billion barrels, and Iraq holds the largest reserves in the world after Saudi Arabia.
As of December 2018, the unemployment rate for adults (15 years and over) was 13.8%, according to a report by the Ministry of Planning and the Central Statistical Department in cooperation with the World Bank. Unemployment rates for the 15-24 age group increased by 27.5%.
In September, the Parliamentary Committee for Economy and Investment announced that unemployment and unemployed graduates had exceeded 42% across the country and that the number of unemployed graduates could exceed 5 million at present.
Iraq, on the other hand, ranked 168 out of 180 countries in the Corruption Perceptions Index released by Transparency International’s 2018 report.
The Central Bank of Iraq announced in July 2018 that “the total revenues of Iraq between 2005 and 2017 amounted to $ 706 billion, of which $ 703.11 billion was spent.”
While Rahim al-Darraji, a member of the Iraqi Integrity Committee in parliament in 2017, confirmed that there are more than 5,000 fake contracts in construction projects and infrastructure, amounting to $ 228 billion.
“The number of fake projects in Iraq since 2003 (after the US-British invasion), and up to 2019, more than 6,000 projects,” said Jassem al-Bukhati, a member of the Iraqi Parliament’s Services Committee. It is about 200 trillion Iraqi dinars, or about $ 178 billion, over the past 16 years.
Also, the Commission on Parliamentary Integrity announced at the end of 2018 on the loss of Iraq more than $ 350 billion through currency smuggling, auction of the Central Bank and lagging contracts and fake projects.
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, who was oil minister in 2015, said Iraq’s budgets since 2003 amounted to $ 850 billion. Corruption has left the country with $ 450 billion, with a 6 percent GDP for government employees, or 20 minutes a day, he said.
“Personal corruption, which some estimate consumes 3% of the total,” said Abdul-Mahdi.
He added that: “huge amounts means that what is stolen by fraud methods .. At least $ 2 billion annually, and this is a great disaster must be addressed and reduced to get to stop.”
In fact, corruption exceeds $ 2 billion annually, and a senior official pointed out in a statement earlier to the “new Arab” that “more than 40 cases of corruption in Iraq totaling nearly $ 100 billion is not allowed to open, such as the Russian arms deal and the Ukrainian arms and prefabricated schools deal Gas power plants, Ministry of Commerce’s rice and flour processing tenders, explosives detectors, Central Bank dollar auction, agricultural finance loans, industrial finance, oil smuggling, construction contracts, investment licenses, army salaries and support council salaries. ”
In 2004, during the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority following the US-British occupation of Iraq, the Central Bank of Iraq established the so-called “hard currency daily auction” as part of its efforts to revalue the Iraqi dinar. Sometimes this amount is usually from Iraqi oil revenues sold.
The auction has continued to operate since then. Iraqi observers and officials estimate the value of the dollar sold in this auction over the past fifteen years, more than $ 300 billion, most of which came out of Iraq to other countries without achieving benefit for the Iraqi dinar and its value, which remains under the logical limit of the fifth largest oil producer in the world (1200 dinars per dollar).