Iraqi Govt to Boost Spending by 36%

Iraq’s cabinet plans a substantial boost in public spending next year in a draft budget proposed on Sunday, government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said in a statement.

AFP reports that the $111-billion spending programme for 2012 is a 36 percent increase on the same figure for this year, with 15 percent of next year’s budget allocated for security.

Overall expenditure will be $111.02 billion [131 trillion Iraqi dinars] while income is projected at $91.27 billion, leaving a deficit of around 18 percent.

Dabbagh said that shortfall would be covered by any surplus accumulated in 2011, as well as increases in oil prices and production, and unspecified internal and external debt.

The statement did not specify at what level of crude prices and production the budget is based. Oil sales account for the lion’s share of Iraq’s government income, and budget documents usually clearly list such figures.

The spokesman reportedly did not immediately respond to AFP requests for comment.

Iraq’s 2011 budget was based on average oil prices of $76.5 per barrel and projected exports of 2.2 million barrels of oil per day (bpd).

As oil prices have risen substantially above that figure since the start of the year, the country appears likely to see income rise above its 2011 budget projections.

Of the main expenditure, $16.95 billion is allocated to improving security and stability, while $12.71 billion is earmarked for welfare support.

Education will receive $8.9 billion, with $4.24 billion allocated for the industrial and energy sector.

(Source: AFP)

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