Seven million people living below the poverty line, on less that $2 a day, is disastrous in oil-rich and plentiful Iraq, said a member of the Council of Representatives.

The figure amounts to 23 percent of the population, who experience bad conditions as a result of extreme poverty, are earning less than $30 (37,000 IQD) a month, according to a report from the US-Iraqi Organization of Human Rights.

Veyan Daxel, Chairperson of the Services and Reconstruction Commission in the Iraqi Council of Representatives told AKnews on Sunday that while this proportion is not low, it is disastrous in a country like Iraq which has has tremendous amounts of oil and other riches.

Iraq's GDP is currently $170bn (198.3tr IQD), and is expected to rise to $360bn (419.9tr IQD) by 2015.

He said: "This number of people living below the poverty line need laws for social security and to ensure the rights of citizens to any job - like widows, people with special needs, and the elderly - in order to help them cope with their daily living conditions."

A small percentage of those affected live in the Kurdistan region, while the majority live in the south and center of Iraq.

However, the spokesman for the Ministry for Planning and Development Cooperation, claims that the figures are from 2007 and that the current poverty line is actually marked by a maximum salary of $62 (77,000 IQD) a month.

Speaking to Alsabaah news agency, the ministry said they have prepared a $386m (450bn IQD) strategy to reduce poverty to 16 percent by 2014 under a larger plan that includes the improvement of education, health, employment and ration cards.

He added that surveys of all the provinces will be undertaken by the government to determine poverty levels.

Daxel added: "We are monitoring the service projects in Iraq and working to activate a greater role for the ministries because they provide employment opportunities for Iraqi citizens.

"But the problem is the significant delay in some projects, lack of money allocated and corruption."