Baghdad’s 700 Unfinished Reconstruction Projects

The council was well aware of this, al-Adhadh said, and in the next few weeks they were planning to blacklist around 34 contractors who hadn’t finished their work.

“When the names of these companies are announced, they will not be able to continue their work and their projects will be taken away from them,” al-Adhadh explained. “They will not be able to get any new contracts in the future and any person who deals with them will be held responsible. And,” he adds, “this has nothing to do with upcoming elections either.”

The contractors involved would be paid for what work they had done – unless of course, the amount of work done was negligible.

Additionally the local authorities said that it was important to remember that not all the projects undertaken in Baghdad were their responsibility – some were the responsibility of the federal government and various ministries within it. Some have suggested that if the new version of Law 21, also known as the Provincial Powers Law, is passed, this may help – as it would mean that it becomes far more clear who is responsible for what.

“The projects that are delayed are mostly service-related,” Hakim Abdul Zahra, director of media relations at Baghdad’s provincial council, told NIQASH. “Things like water supply, drainage and street paving. These projects are mostly managed by special committees in Baghdad’s municipalities. The reasons the projects are delayed is due to lack of money, other random buildings and the security conditions in the capital.”

For example, Abdul Zahra continued, some service-related project might be about to begin and it has all been drawn up on city maps. Then when the contractor is about to start work he goes to the area and discovers that there are illegally built homes or other buildings there. Removing these houses requires political consensus and authority and the contractor and even the municipal authorities may not have enough power to remove the houses – especially if families are living in them.

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