June 26, 2023

Analysis: Iraq’s new budget may hamper more than it helps

The Iraqi Council of Representatives passed the 2023, 2024 and 2025 federal budgets on June 12, nearly eight months after Prime Minister Mohammad Shia al-Sudani’s new government was formed.

This year’s budget is Iraq’s largest at 198.9 trillion Iraqi dinars, about $153bn based on the official exchange rate. The 2024 and 2025 budgets will be the same unless the cabinet requests any changes and Parliament approves them.

Government offices are overcrowded and disorganised, slowing bureaucracy down further. Big hiring this year will also burden future governments with pensions.

For the first time, the government took advantage of 2019’s financial management law, which allows for up to a three-year budget. Iraq has not only been slow at passing budgets, but three out of the past nine years also saw no budget passed at all – in 2014, 2020, 2022.

Although there is only half a year left to spend the 2023 budget, there is the reassurance that the next two years will be covered, guaranteeing the government a budget until the next federal elections in late 2025 and for provincial council elections scheduled for this year.

Read the full article from Al Jazeera.

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