TNT – “Tidbits From TNT” Tuesday 5-21-2024

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Tishwash:  The House of Representatives receives the budget schedules from the government

Today, Tuesday, the Media Department of the House of Representatives announced that the House had received the budget schedules from the government.

The department said in a statement received by the Iraqi News Agency (INA), “The Secretary-General of the House of Representatives, Safwan Bashir Al-Jarjari, received the budget schedules from the government today.”

She added, “Al-Jarjari referred the agendas to the Presidency of the House of Representatives link

Tishwash:  The budget tables are in a final government audit before being sent to Parliament

An informed source revealed that the financial budget schedules for the year 2024 are subject to a final government audit before being sent to the House of Representatives.

“The budget tables are now in the legal department of the General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers, and it is hoped that their audit will be completed within the secretariat and then sent to the Parliamentary Finance Committee.”

The source stated, “In the coming days, the Finance Committee will review the budget schedules sent by the government and follow up on their disbursement, and will make some amendments to them if necessary to adapt them to the public need.”

The Council of Ministers voted in an extraordinary session last Sunday on the budget schedules and referred them to the House of Representatives.

Prime Minister Muhammad Shiaa Al-Sudani revealed in a press conference after the session the details of the budget tables and the most prominent contents of them. He said:

Table (A) included revenues totaling (144.336) trillion dinars, and Table (B) concerned the total planned expenditures totaling (210.936) trillion dinars.

– The planned budget deficit amounted to (63.599) trillion dinars, and Table (C) is the centrally funded workforce table, amounting to (4,079,906) employees, and governing expenditures amounted to (10.042) trillion dinars.

– The investment budget for 2024 is (54.298) trillion dinars, and may reach 55 trillion dinars.
– Governorate allocations to local government programs with an investment allocation amounted to (10.633) trillion dinars in 2023, and we financed (3.333) trillion, based on fundamental requests from the governorates.

– The remainder of the allocation (7.333 trillion dinars) is in a trust account, at the disposal of the provincial governments.

– Allocating approximately (8) trillion dinars to ongoing projects, including allocations in 2024.
– For the first time in the history of budgets, we have exceeded spending by 50%.

The increase in debt repayment amounted to 3.9 trillion dinars. In 2023, the debt repayment was 12,751, and in 2024, we repaid 16.725 trillion.  link

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Tishwash:   Government Spokesman: This year and the coming will witness progress on important projects that affect the lives of citizens

The official spokesman for the Iraqi government, Bassem Al-Awadi, announced today, Monday, that the current and next year will witness the movement of important projects that affect the lives of the citizen.

Al-Awadi said in a televised statement: “The Iraqi government has tended to reduce debts and reduce the deficit in the upcoming budget, indicating that the government has tended to maximize non-oil revenues to more than 18 trillion, adding that the government has tended to grant guarantees and guarantees for vital projects that revive the economy.”

Al-Awadi stressed, “Our institutions are able to compensate the United Nations mission and our cooperation continues with the organizations.”  link

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Tishwash:  Iraq is whitewashing its debt book… and fears of financial waste

Iraq closed the file of its debts owed to the International Monetary Fund and accumulated since 2003, with a total amount exceeding 8 billion dollars, through several loans that were aimed at supporting macroeconomic stability and implementing financial reforms.

According to the financial advisor to the Iraqi government, Mazhar Muhammad Salih, after 2003, the International Monetary Fund provided several loans to Iraq that were aimed at supporting economic stability and implementing financial reform processes between the years 2003 and 2021.
Saleh explained, in an interview reported by the Iraqi Media Agency (INA), that Iraq obtained several financing programs from the International Monetary Fund, including emergency loans and relatively long-term financial aid. 

Saleh stated that since 2003, the value of loans and financial aid granted by the International Monetary Fund to Iraq amounted to $8 billion, and was repaid in full, with a focus when granting loans on implementing programs linked to supporting macroeconomic stability and implementing the necessary financial reforms. The International Monetary Fund had previously explained that Iraq needs to gradually correct its public financial conditions, to achieve debt stability in the medium term and rebuild financial reserves.

In its statement, the Fund welcomed the strong economic recovery, low inflation in Iraq, and the improvement in local conditions that led to the implementation of the first three-year budget, stressing the necessity of sound economic policies and structural reforms in Iraq to secure public finances and debts, given the regional conflicts that may affect oil prices.

At the end of last year, 2023, the International Monetary Fund stated that Iraq’s economy relies heavily on oil revenues, and needs radical structural reforms to diversify sources of income and achieve sustainable growth. 

Financial waste

In this context, the financial expert, Rashid Al-Saadi, said that financial waste in Iraqi state institutions exceeds 40 billion dollars annually, and that Iraq is capable of addressing this serious problem by drawing up a sound monetary economic policy and reducing levels of financial waste. Al-Saadi added to Al-Arabi Al-Jadeed that Iraq was one of the founding countries of the International Monetary Fund in 1944, and has a strong position in the international financial system, due to its high confidence that enables it to achieve its economic policies and provides sustainable development opportunities.

He pointed out that the International Monetary Fund’s decision not to provide Iraq with development loans comes because of the Fund’s policy, which requires granting debts for the purpose of achieving sustainable development projects and not in order to pay salaries and the deficit in the state budget. Al-Saadi stated that the IMF stressed greatly the importance of Iraq’s move to rationalize its cash consumption, work to achieve new resources, and invest its natural and human resources to achieve the optimal financial output away from the financial waste occurring in state institutions.

He stressed that there are more than 100,000 employees who receive salaries without any work or production, in addition to the presence of approximately 150,000 employees who receive more than one salary, in addition to the great waste in the expenses of the government and its higher institutions. He stated that the financial waste in salaries and expenses holds the state budget at more than 40 billion dollars annually, which is a dangerous percentage that leads to significant slackness and a dangerous increase in the volume of expenditures, stressing the importance of reducing surplus expenditures and working to diversify the sources of national income for the Iraqi state. 

Loan burden

The economic researcher, Ahmed Sabah, said that Iraq tried to improve its relationship with the International Monetary Fund after 2003 through the Paris Club Agreement and the resulting decisions in order to extinguish the debts incurred by Iraq before its invasion in 2003, which were estimated at around 100 billion dollars, and which passed Several stages ended in 2008.

Sabah added to Al-Arabi Al-Jadeed that Iraq bore the burden of new loans at the beginning of 2014, which witnessed a rise in government expenditures on the battles to regain control of the areas that fell under the control of ISIS, and the financial problems that befell the state and a large deficit in the balance of payments. Which prompted him to request a loan from the International Monetary Fund worth $5.34 billion to meet his financial obligations.

Sabah stressed that Iraq did not sever its relationship with the International Monetary Fund, but rather the economic policy currently followed has caused the Fund to lose its confidence in it, due to the large waste of money in Iraq and the high volume of unjustified spending far from production and the multiplicity of means of national income. He stated that Iraq’s economy is unstable and suffers from many fluctuations due to its total dependence on oil revenues, in addition to the state’s poor economic management and its weak production performance.

Sabah stated that any decline in global oil prices will cost Iraq a lot, increase the deficit rate and raise the levels of economic risk that will result in Iraq’s bankruptcy and its reaching dangerous stages. He stressed the importance of improving Iraq’s financial situation and strengthening its economic relations with international financial organizations and bodies to raise the level of confidence and confront economic crises.  link