Iraq’s parliament gave the final approval on Sunday to an $82.6 billion budget for 2011, according to Reuters. AKnews puts the Iraqi dinar amount at 96 trillion.
The budget is based on an average oil price of $76.50 per barrel, and 2.2 million barrels per day in crude exports.
The deficit was projected at $13.4 billion, although Iraqi officials have said the shortfall would be eliminated if world oil prices remain at current levels. About 95 percent of Iraq’s government budget comes from oil revenue.
Iraqi officials have announced massive projects to build hundreds of thousands of new homes and to boost electricity generation, and the budget allocates a total of $25.7 billion for investments.
The 2011 budget also allocates $2.05 billion to pay oil firms’ investment costs.
The budget foresees crude production of 100,000 bpd from Iraq’s semi-autonomous northern Kurdish region.
Passage of the budget was held up for months by political haggling.
Iraq has been hit by a series of protests in recent weeks, many aimed at pressuring the government to improve power and other basic services, and to alleviate food shortages.
Politicians have taken a number of steps to ease public anger. They diverted $900 million from the purchase of F-16 combat jets to the national food ration programme, made big purchases of sugar and wheat to bolster rations, and proposed cutting lawmakers’ salaries by 50 percent.
(Sources: Reuters, AKnews)