Changes to Ration Card System in Iraq

The Undersecretary of the Iraqi Trade Ministry has stated that a new mechanism has been adopted to address the crisis in the distribution of the ration card items, especially with regard to facilitating the contracting process between them and the importing companies.

Walid al-Helo told AKnews that the Ministry will work to facilitate the process of contracting with companies, dealers and suppliers of foodstuffs in order to accelerate the distribution of the ration card items during specific periods.

"The president of the Council of Ministers agreed to grant full powers to the ministry to contract with traders and companies during the coming period in order to provide food products with good quality and origins".

During his meeting with staff in the Trade Ministry, the Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki stressed the need to facilitate the contracting process through legal and technical means and remove obstacles that impede the delivery of the ration card items to citizens.

The Ministry of Planning and Development Cooperation stated that responsibility for the ration card file will be trasferred from the Ministry of Trade to the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs in early 2014, indicating that the system hindered the development of Iraq's economy and the conclusion of international agreements.

The Ministry of Trade in Iraq announced earlier it was preparing a comprehensive study to give priority to poor areas in the distribution of ration cards, indicating that the lack of financial allocations delay the delivery of ration card items to the citizens.

The delivery of ration card items by the Trade Ministry was delayed this year in most provinces for reasons described as "technical."

The Trade Ministry has developed a new plan that includes withholding ration cards for government employees who earn salaries of more than 1.5 million Iraqi dinars, and it reduced the number of ration card items to four -- flour, sugar, cooking oil and rice -- according to the ministry's plan last year.

The financial allocation for the ration card in the 2010 budget 3.5 trillion Iraqi dinars (about 2,9 billion dollars), down from 4 trillion dinars in 2009.

On Nov. 17, the Trade Ministry stated that it will implement a new plan for the distribution of the ration card items that depend on the income level of the citizens.

(Source: AKnews)

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