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IRAQ: Increased oil revenues to fund housing scheme for the poor

BAGHDAD, 7 August 2008 (IRIN) - The Iraqi government is planning to make use of increased oil revenues to fund the construction of simple houses for poor families currently living in inadequate shacks.

[Read this report in Arabic]

A government spokesman on 5 August said the scheme would be implemented when the new “complementary budget” is approved by parliament, which it was on 6 August.

Finance Ministry spokesman Adnan Abdul-Rahman said some 25 billion Iraqi dinars (about US$21 million) had been allocated to each of the 18 provinces for the construction of “simple houses for poor people who are living in inadequate places made either of reeds or strips of metal.”

The houses “planned to be one-storey buildings with two rooms, a kitchen and a bathroom/toilet” would be built by private companies over the coming five months, he said, adding that the local authorities would determine who would benefit. Internally displaced persons would not be covered.

Increasing oil revenues due to high world prices enabled the Iraqi government in early July to add US$21 billion to its 2008 budget, bringing the total 2008 budget to around US$70 billion, Abdul-Rahman said.

About US$7.4 billion of the new money would be spent on economic and infrastructure development, bringing the total allocated for investment in all sectors in 2008 to US$20.4 billion, he said. The remaining US$13.6 billion would be earmarked for ministries and operational activities in the provinces.

A reduced level of violence over the past few months has allowed Iraq to achieve pre-war production levels of about 2.5 million barrels a day, according to the Iraqi Oil Ministry.

Iraq has the world’s third largest oil reserves (an estimated 115 billion barrels). Exports currently stand at just over 1.9 million barrels a day.

sm/ar/cb

Theme (s): Economy,

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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