New Iraqi Budget Deepens Housing Crisis

“The fund’s liquidity is insufficient to carry on with the process of granting loans for more than a few days. The fund’s work may cease within a month’s time. Attributing this year’s allocations to a surplus in oil revenues and not including them in fixed lines implies that work will be halted until the surplus is reached,” said Bassam.

Bassam called on governmental bodies that were granted significant allocations to donate some of their money to the fund, which directly helps Iraqis who are struggling with the housing crisis.

For years now, Iraq has been undergoing a harrowing housing crisis, bringing with it skyrocketing prices in real estate and rentals.

“If housing loans come to a halt, a significant number of Iraqis would be deprived of suitable homes to live in,” added Bassam.

While the Ministry of Construction and Housing stressed that Bassam was shocked when he learned that the 2013 budget does not include housing allocations, sources within the ministry said that Housing Minister Mohammed al-Daraji has asked Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to be relieved of his duties in protest of excluding the fund’s allocations.

“The loans granted by the fund are under threat of being terminated because the necessary allocations were not included in the budget and depend on the a revenue surplus. The available amounts in the fund are 50 billion Iraqi dinars ($40 million). More than 11,000 Iraqis are waiting for the loans to be disbursed; however, these loans alone will cost around 342 billion Iraqi dinars [$300 million],” said al-Daraji.

“The use of the budget’s financial surplus to support the housing fund threatens to completely halt its operations,” he continued, adding, “If a financial surplus is secured, it will be taken into account after June. Due to administrative procedures, it will not be allocated to the fund before November.”

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