The Resource Curse: Will Ordinary Iraqis Ever See Their Oil Money?

Hossam Mashraq, who graduated from university two years ago, said he would also prefer cash handouts as he no longer trusted the government to provide the citizens with public services. “The news about officials embezzling billions leaves us with no confidence in the government,” he said. “The miserable walk the streets with their garbage. And the standards in hospitals and government health centres make us all lose any hope in the state’s ability.”

Another local, Qasim Ibrahim, said if a direct oil dividend was introduced, that first there should be a better level of awareness and information about the costs of education, health insurance and social security – all of which should be guaranteed by the state.

It’s obvious that how exactly to spend Iraq's oil revenues will remain a source of disagreement, both amongst officials and on the streets, for some time to come – especially given the speed at which the Iraqi government solve any problems. So while the government argues on how best to invest the nation’s glorious income, ordinary citizens can only dream of the benefits that black gold can bring, after years of deprivation.

(Source: NIQASH)

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