By Seerwan Jafar.
Iraq’s 2013 budget amounts to US$118 billion. But the figures don’t add up. Doing the sums results in one conclusion: unless something is done differently, Iraq will face serious debt and development problems.
In late October, the Iraqi Cabinet, headed by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, approved the 2013 draft budget. The total amount approved was USD $118 billion, making for an US$18 billion increase on 2012’s budget and making the budget Iraq’s highest ever. The draft will eventually go to the Iraqi Parliament for ratification.
If one considers the state of Iraq – still plagued by power cuts, growing youth unemployment and almost totally dependent on oil revenues – then an increase is surely a positive thing. But will this upcoming budget do the trick?
If Iraq is to become a more developed nation, is this increase enough and is it sustainable? And if it’s not, then what would the Iraqi budget be ideally?
A look at the facts and the figures around this issue may help to work out an answer to those questions. Iraq is near to completely reliant on oil revenues. Oil exports account for 95 percent of government revenues and are equal to 70 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.