Iraqi Workers Protest for Wage Payment

Muayad Jamal al-Din, vice chairman of the Iraqi Federation of Industries, said that industrial production in Iraq is disappearing. He told Al-Monitor, “Industrial production has deteriorated after 2003, and in 2014 it only supported 1.3% of the gross domestic product.”

Al-Monitor visited industrial plants located on the outskirts of Hilla, where Saadi al-Khafaji — no relation to the above Khafaji — owns a plant that manufactures abayas and head scarves for women. “Many plants have been unable to produce as a result of the absence of governmental protection for local production," he said. "This led to the market being saturated with goods imported from abroad.”

“Chinese and Turkish products are much cheaper than domestic goods, resulting in a depression in sales of the latter,” he said, adding that “power outages and a scarcity of fuel are two factors that still constitute a reason for the disruption of production.”

Ghassan al-Jazairi, a merchant from Babil, was surprised when his industrial project did not succeed due to the nature of the Iraqi market. “I established a company for packaging dates using modern methods, and had expected it to succeed," he said. "However, I was shocked to discover that dates imported from Jordan, the Gulf states and Iran were flooding the markets at lower prices,” despite Iraq being a top date-producing country.

Suhaila Abbas, a member of the Babil provincial council, told Al-Monitor, “All of Iraq’s provinces are awaiting oil returns to pay their expenses. There is only slight self-financing from industrial and agricultural production.” Abbas’ statements confirm the content of a May 2015 report issued by Wasit province announcing its “inability to pay the salaries of government employees.”

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