The Electricity Ministry says it needs $8 billion [9.6 trillion Iraqi dinars] this year to pay its debts and finance current and new projects. The sum amounts to nearly 10 percent of the country’s budget, reports Azzaman.
“The sum is needed to pay the ministry’s debts and finance new projects to revive the power sector,” said Adel Mahdi, the Electricity Ministry’s top financial adviser.
He said this year’s allocations “are exceptional” and that the ministry will not need such massive sums in the future.
Mahdi said he has been in contact with Prime Minister Nouri al-Malaki on how to make the money available for the ministry.
“I have received assurances from the prime minister, who sees improving electricity supplies as a top priority by his government, that the ministry will get most the allocations it needs,” Mahdi said.
If the money is made available, Mahdi claimed the ministry should be able to put an end to power shortages “in one to two years.”
But, the report claims, there are few in Iraq who take Mahdi’s claim seriously.
The electricity sector has devoured billions of dollars since the 2003-U.S. invasion and Iraqis still get less power from the national grid than they received previously.