A member of Iraq’s Commission of Integrity, Mohammad Qawn, told Al-Monitor, “The Commission of Integrity invited the customs officials [to speak to the commission], which confirmed that corruption is indeed prevailing. For example, they said that only one car out of dozens undergoes government inspections while other vehicles pass without inspection as long as a bribe is given to corrupt officials.”
He explained, “The goods' classification is being altered to reduce the tax and the positions at border crossings are being bought and sold openly because they bring financial returns for some parties." He did not name them.
Qawn pointed out, “Improving the work of border crossings is very difficult at this stage because they are located in border areas far from the monitoring authorities.” He called on the government to “change the management and hold accountable those who are buying and selling positions,” adding, “The government did not benefit from the tariff law as expected. Only the corrupt officials are taking advantage of this at the expense of the Iraqi people.”
In regard to the budget for the current year, the Iraqi government confirmed that it will take in 11.9 trillion dinars ($9 billion) in non-oil revenue from tariffs and fees. But the head of the parliamentary Finance Committee, Mohammed al-Halbusi, revealed Oct. 9 the government could not access these funds, which amounted to 2.4 trillion dinars ($2 billion) that had been collected but not delivered.
Abdul-Hussein al-Anbaki, an economic adviser to the Iraqi prime minister, attributed the problems impeding the implementation of the tariff law to the doubling of the tax on imported goods and corruption among some of the staff.
“The Iraqi government has taken measures to curb corruption, but some parties are resisting and practicing extortion,” he told Al-Monitor. “The purpose of applying the law is not necessarily to support the budget, but mainly to support sectors such as industry and agriculture, because the country's economy is currently going through a recession.”