The Ministry of Electricity’s 2013 budget has soared to $14 billion to help it end power outages in the country, reports Azzaman.
But the ministry’s spokesperson Musaib Mudaris said the blackouts will continue until the end of the year, by which time output will reach 13,000 megawatts, enough to meet the country’s domestic needs.
Mudaris said half of this year’s allocations were invested in power plants and enhancement of the national grid.
The ministry’s operating costs amount to $7 billion a year, he added.
Mudaris also revealed that Electricity Ministry’s budget in the years from 2003-2012 had amounted to $37 billion.
Currently, he said, Iraq’s combined power output was in the range of 11,000 megawatts, still short of the country’s total needs, estimated at 13,000 megawatts.
However, many in Iraq doubt whether the ministry will be able to put an end to outages any time soon, given the precarious security situation and the dramatic increases in demand due to improved living standards.
However, Mudaris insisted that the country to be able to produce up to 20,000 megawatts by the end of 2014.
Iraqi parliament Oil & Energy Committee member, MP Suzan al-Sa’ad, recently stressed that the country’s decline in crude oil production during 2013 will lead to major deficit in the federal budget of 2014.
According to a report by the Oil Ministry, Iraq oil exports decreased at average of seven million barrels in June, following the sabotage of the northern pipeline and the bad weather.
The spokesperson of the Oil Ministry, Asim Jihad said some days ago that the oil exports for past June decreased to 69,800,000 barrel, at average of 2,326,000 barrel a day, while the oil exports reached in past May 76,900,000 barrel per day.
By Omar al-Shaher forAl-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.
The strenuous efforts exerted to handle the housing crisis were quickly rendered useless when the ratified 2013 general budget did away with the allocations for the housing fund, which was to grant loans for those wishing to build new homes.
The Iraqi parliament ratified the 2013 general budget on March 7 after a heated debate among involved parties regarding the share allotted to the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region. The budget did not include any housing allocations, which were held back until an increase in oil revenues is seen.
The housing fund is set out by the Ministry of Construction and Housing. The biggest real-estate funding body in Iraq, with a capital of one billion Iraqi dinars ($900 million), the housing fund was established specifically to solve the housing crisis.
The fund grants zero-interest loans in monthly payments with a ceiling of $30,000 for those wishing to build a private home in the Iraqi capital. Should the construction take place in other provinces, the loan limit drops to $25,000. The 2013 budget stipulated that allocations for this fund would come from the surplus in oil revenues, instead of from fixed budget lines.
This surplus, however, is not expected to be reached until the middle of the next fiscal year, which means that the fund will not receive any money in the coming months.
Director-general of the fund Burhanuddin Bassam affirmed that the fund would not accept new loan applications from any of Iraq’s provinces. He stressed that the available money could only cover the payments due to applicants who had already registered.
The Iraqi parliament passed the 2013 budget of the 138 trillion Iraqi dinars ($118.5 billion) on Thursday, allocating to Kurdistan just a fraction of the oil revenue the region requested, reports Wall Street Journal.
Ibrahim al-Mutlaq, a member of the parliamentary finance committee, said the budget allocates 750 billion Iraqi dinars ($644 million) for oil companies operating in the semi-autonomous region, which include majors such as Exxon Mobil, Gazprom Neft and Chevron; the Kurdish government had asked for $3.5 billion, including outstanding payments covering all exports between 2010 and 2013.
The budget decision adds to existing tensions between the Kurdish region and Baghdad over oil exploration rights, trade with Turkey and the redevelopment of oil fields in a disputed territory.
Kurdish lawmakers boycotted the session which led to the passing of the budget, Mr. al-Mutlaq said.
Jaber al-Jaberi, an Iraqiya MP among those who boycotted the session, said he expects the Kurds to go to the federal court to disrupt the budget.
The Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament, Osama Al-Nujeifi [Usama al-Nujaifi] (pictured), said on Thursday that negotiations with leaders of the political blocs on the state budget for 2013 have entered a “blind alley”, according to KUNA news agency.
He blamed the deadlock on disputes among the parliamentary blocs on allocations for the development of regions and financial dues of companies working in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Talks between the political blocs had reached a dead end, he said, and parliament should sending the budget back to the government to increase the expenditures, or “use its right in moving the moneys within the budget’s items”.