Iraq’s Failing Construction Projects

By Wassim Bassem for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Since the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime following the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, there have been hundreds of failed and delayed construction and development projects in the country.

A few months after it was built, the wall of the Imam Al-Hadi elementary school in Husseiniya, in northern Baghdad, collapsed on the night of Feb. 27; in November 2014, the local government in Babil withdrew the al-Tahmaziya street pavement project in southern Hilla from the contracting firm due to delays in the project’s implementation; and the local government of Dhi Qar province, 375 kilometers (217.5 miles) south of Baghdad, took away the licenses of 50 companies to delay the implementation of projects.

Despite the state’s budgets reaching record figures, as oil prices were close to $100 a barrel, these projects were not accomplished. Minister of Oil Adel Abdul Mahdi said Aug. 17 that Iraq’s budget between 2003 and 2015 reached $850 billion.

However, today and in light of the 50% decrease in oil prices, the implementation of these projects has become difficult, if not impossible.

On the reasons behind the negligence, Kahtan al-Sultani, head of the senior engineers at the Iraqi Ministry of Municipalities and Public Works, told Al-Monitor, “The main causes of failure [to implement projects] are reflected in the poor quality of the completed projects, and noncompletion of others. This is because the projects were given to companies based on official contracts, knowing these companies are not up to the standards required and are run by contractors connected to corrupt officials and politicians.”

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