Sunday, May 31, 2009

How Did The Outgoing Provincial Councils Do?

All of Iraq’s new provincial councils have now been seated. The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) released its quarterly report to Congress on April 30, which contains the latest data on how those outgoing politicians did. The previous councils were in office from 2005 to 2009. Most came to power with little to no experience in government. Their last two years should be their best performance because they were able to learn on the job, had the benefit of U.S. and international training, and saw a dramatic drop in violence.

In 2008 the provinces were budgeted $9,830.69 million. They spent 67% of it, or $6,596.8 million. The three Kurdish provinces of Dohuk, Irbil, and Sulaymaniya received almost a third of the overall amount, $3,701.49 million. The Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) does not provide information about its spending however, so both Baghdad and the U.S. tend to count all of the money sent north as spent. In 2008 the SIGIR said Kurdistan spent 100% of their budget, which skews the overall number for Iraq’s provinces upwards. Without the KRG, the remaining fifteen governorates were budgeted $6,129.2 million, and only spent 47% of it, $2,894.7 million. This was an improvement over 2007 when the provinces were budgeted $3,631 million and spent over $2,137 million, 58%+. Minus Kurdistan the provinces spent $650 mil of their $2,071 budget, 31.3% however. While getting better, these numbers show that Iraq’s local governments still have a ways to go in appropriating and investing their money. The public sector is the largest part of the economy, so it’s important that the provinces expend as much as possible. 47% in 2008, especially with the dramatic drop in violence, is still an inadequate amount given the demands of average Iraqis.

In terms of individual provinces, outside of Kurdistan, Maysan, Karbala, Najaf, Babil, and Anbar did the best in executing their budget in that order in 2008. Maysan, which was controlled by the Sadrists, spent 86.4% of their 2008 budget. The Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SIIC) controlled Karbala, 85.3%, Najaf, 75.7%, and Babil 63.5%. The Iraqi Islamic Party ran Anbar, which rounded out the top five, spending 54.4% of its budget. In 2007 many of the same provinces and parties were at the top, starting with Najaf, 64%, Maysan, 51%, Babil, 49%, Karbala, 41%, and Wasit, 41%, the last of which had a Sadrist governor and a provincial council run by the Iraq Elites Gathering.

Ninewa, 36.6%, Dhi Qar, 33.1%, Qadisiyah, 31.5%, Diyala, 28.2%, and Muthanna, 26.8%, were at the bottom last year. The Supreme Council ran Qadisiyah alone. In Dhi Qar, the council was split between the Fadhila Party and the SIIC, and Diyala and Muthanna had a SIIC-Dawa coalition. Ninewa was controlled by the Kurdish Alliance of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), with an independent Arab governor. In 2007 Baghdad, 31%, Ninewa, 26%, Basra, 21%, Muthanna, 19%, and Anbar, 3.7%, did the worst. The Supreme Council controlled Baghdad, and all of them except for Muthanna were some of the most violent in the country that year, which greatly complicated governing them. The provinces that did the best and worst in this category show that the ruling party had little to do with performance. The Supreme Council for example controlled three of the top five governorates that spent the most money, but also had a hand in ruling four of the bottom five. It seems that local officials, and their training and expertise would be much more important factors than what national parties they belonged to when it came to executing their budgets.

2008 Provincial Budget Execution – Ruling Parties

Total: Budgeted $9,830.69 mil, Spent $6,596.8 mil, 67%
Not Including Kurdistan: Budgeted $6,129.2 mil, Spent $2,894.7 mil, 47%

Kurdistan - Budgeted: $3,701.49 mil, Spent $3,702.1 mil, 100% - KDP-PUK
Maysan - Budgeted $194.59 mil, Spent $168.09 mil, 86.4% - Sadrists
Karbala - Budgeted $164.03 mil, Spent $139.86 mil, 85.3% - SIIC
Najaf - Budgeted $328.18 mil, Spent $248.41 mil, 75.7% - SIIC
Babil - Budgeted $409.09 mil, Spent $259.83 mil, 63.5% - SIIC
Anbar - Budgeted $367.15 mil, Spent $199.68 mil, 54.4% - Iraqi Islamic Party
Wasit - Budgeted $217.59 mil, Spent $117.16 mil, 53.8% - Iraq Elites Gathering-Sadrists
Baghdad - Budgeted $1,433.52 mil, Spent $670.66 mil, 46.8% - SIIC
Salahaddin - Budgeted $243.47 mil, Spent $112.25 mil, 46.1% - KDP-PUK
Basra - Budgeted $660.04 mil, Spent $287.37 mil, 43.5% - SIIC-Fadhila
Tamim - Budgeted $285.52 mil, Spent $108.19 mil, 37.9% - KDP-PUK
Ninewa - Budgeted $538.43 mil, Spent $197.11 mil, 36.6% - KDP-PUK
Dhi Qar - Budgeted $377.09 mil, Spent $124.84 mil, 33.1% - Fadhila-SIIC
Qadisiyah - Budgeted $240.45 mil, Spent $75.67 mil, 31.5% - SIIC
Diyala - Budgeted $443.11 mil, Spent $124.81 mil, 28.2% - Dawa-SIIC
Muthanna - Budgeted $226.94 mil, Spent $60.77 mil, 26.8% - Dawa-SIIC

2007 Provincial Budget Execution – Ruling Parties

Total: Budgeted $3,631 mil, Spent $2,137+ mil, 58%+
Not Including Kurdistan: Budgeted $2,071 mil, Spent $650 mil, 31.3%+

Kurdistan - Budgeted $1,560 mil, Spent $1,487, 95% - KDP-PUK
Najaf – Budgeted $88 mil, Spent $54.6 mil, 64% - SIIC
Maysan – Budgeted $76 mil, Spent $39 mil, 51% - Sadrists
Babil – Budgeted $127 mil, Spent $61.9 mil, 49% - SIIC
Karbala – Budgeted $71 mil, Spent $29.4 mil, 41% - SIIC
Wasit – Budgeted $83 mil, Spent $33.7 mil, 41% - Iraq Elites Gathering-Sadrists
Dhi Qar – Budgeted $138 mil, Spent $54.8 mil, 40% - Fadhila-SIIC
Qadisiyah – Budgeted $64 mil, Spent $24.7 mil, 39% - SIIC
Salahaddin – Budgeted $93 mil, Spent $31.5 mil, 34% - KDP-PUK
Tamim – Budgeted $91 mil, Spent $31 mil, 34% - KDP-PUK
Baghdad – Budgeted $560 mil, Spent $174.4 mil, 31% - SIIC
Ninewa – Budgeted $226 mil, Spent $58.5 mil, 26% - KDP-PUK
Basra – Budgeted $195 mil, Spent $40.8 mil, 26% - SIIC-Fadhila
Muthanna – Budgeted $52 mil, Spent $9.9 mil, 19% - Dawa-SIIC
Anbar – Budgeted $107 mil, Spent $4 mil, 3.7% - Iraqi Islamic Party
Diyala – Budgeted $100 mil, Spent N/A – Dawa-SIIC

The aggregate numbers on the amount budgeted and spent in each province only tells half of the story. In 2008, Maysan was ranked the top province in spending its budget outside of Kurdistan at 86.4%. However that money only led to 41 of 241 projects being completed there. For another view, the SIGIR report also included assessments of the U.S.-led Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs), which operate in each of Iraq’s governorates. They rated Maysan as the least developed of all of Iraq’s provincial economies.

The PRTs assess governance, political development, reconciliation, economic development, and rule of law. These topics are ranked beginning, developing, sustaining, performing, or self-reliant. From February 2008 to February 2009 Kurdistan was given the highest rating, Wasit, Babil, and Karbala had the most improvement, while Ninewa, Anbar, Diyala, Baghdad, Muthanna, and Basra all saw reversals. Karbala, run by the SIIC, was rated the most successful province outside of Kurdistan, progressing from developing to performing in political development, reconciliation, and rule of Law, and from developing to sustaining in governance and economic development. Wasit was the only province that was given a self-reliant mark, and that was in reconciliation. Muthanna had a similar rating in February 2008, but fell back to sustaining a year later.

PRT Rankings:
Beginning: Little progress on decision-making, provision of services, political participation, fighting corruption, basic freedoms, infrastructure, and unemployment.
Developing: Small improvements in economic development, government, and security. Still lack budget spending, basic freedoms, political participation, jobs, banks, and effort against corruption.
Sustaining: Getting better at working with national government, building political parties, political participation, and police. Still lacks coordination, appropriations, banks, and still has tribal influences.
Performing: Social and financial institutions and infrastructure working, coordination, political participation, and transparency exists. Banks opening, appropriations improving, transportation available, police and legal system building, security forces in the lead, and tribes deferring to government.
Self-Reliant: Independent government with basic freedoms, security, political and economic institutions working, religious tolerance, working legal system, and self-sufficient security forces.

Anbar
Governance – Sustaining
Political Development – Sustaining
Reconciliation – Sustaining
Economic Development – Advanced from Developing to Sustaining
Rule of Law – Moved down from Sustaining to Developing

Babil
Governance – Developing
Political Development – Advanced from Beginning to Performing
Reconciliation – Advanced from Beginning to Sustaining
Economic Development – Sustaining
Rule of Law – Advanced from Sustaining to Performing

Baghdad
Governance – Advanced from Developing to Sustaining
Political Development – Advanced from Developing to Sustaining
Reconciliation – Advanced from Developing to Sustaining
Economic Development – Advanced from Developing to Sustaining
Rule of Law – Moved down from Sustaining to Developing

Basra
Governance – Moved down from Sustaining to Developing
Political Development – Advanced from Sustaining to Performing
Reconciliation – Sustaining
Economic Development – Advanced from Developing to Sustaining
Rule of Law – Developing

Dhi Qar
Governance – Sustaining
Political Development – Sustaining
Reconciliation – Sustaining
Economic Development – Sustaining
Rule of Law - Sustaining

Diyala
Governance – Moved down from Sustaining to Developing
Political Development – Developing
Reconciliation – Developing
Economic Development – Advanced from Developing to Sustaining
Rule of Law – Beginning to Developing

Karbala
Governance – Advanced from Developing to Sustaining
Political Development – Advanced from Developing to Performing
Reconciliation – Advanced from Developing to Performing
Economic Development – Advanced from Developing to Sustaining
Rule of Law – Advanced from Developing to Performing

Kurdistan
Governance – Sustaining
Political Development – Performing
Reconciliation – Performing
Economic Development – Advanced from Sustaining to Performing
Rule of Law – Advanced from Sustaining to Performing

Maysan
Governance – Advanced from Beginning to Developing
Political Development – Developing
Reconciliation – Sustaining
Economic Development – Beginning
Rule of Law – Developing

Muthanna
Governance – Advanced from Developing to Sustaining
Political Development – Advanced from Beginning to Performing
Reconciliation- Moved down from Self-Reliant to Sustaining
Economic Development – Advanced from Developing to Sustaining
Rule of Law – Advanced from Developing to Sustaining

Najaf
Governance – Sustaining
Political Development – Advanced from Developing to Performing
Reconciliation – Advanced from Developing to Sustaining
Economic Development – Sustaining
Rule of Law – Sustaining

Ninewa
Governance – Developing
Political Development – Advanced from Developing to Sustaining
Reconciliation – Advanced from Beginning to Developing
Economic Development – Developing
Rule of Law – Moved down from Sustaining to Developing

Qadisiyah
Governance – Advanced from Developing to Sustaining
Political Development – Advanced from Developing to Sustaining
Reconciliation – Beginning
Economic Development – Advanced from Beginning to Sustaining
Rule of Law – Advanced from Developing to Sustaining

Salahaddin
Governance – Sustaining
Political Development – Advanced from Sustaining to Performing
Reconciliation – Advanced from Developing to Sustaining
Economic Development – Developing
Rule of Law – Developing

Tamim
Governance – Advanced from Developing to Sustaining
Political Development – Sustaining
Reconciliation – Advanced from Developing to Sustaining
Economic Development – Advanced from Developing to Sustaining
Rule of Law – Advanced from Developing to Sustaining

Wasit
Governance – Developing
Political Development – Advanced from Developing to Sustaining
Reconciliation – Advanced from Beginning to Self-Reliant
Economic Development – Advanced from Beginning to Sustaining
Rule of Law – Advanced from Developing to Performing

The SIGIR also provided the unemployment figures for each province. A recent January 2009 United Nations survey of Iraqis found the jobless rate at 18%. The SIGIR’s numbers were close at 19.5%. Wasit had the lowest unemployment rate at 13.6%. It also spent more than half of its budget at 53.8%, and had one of the largest jumps in economic development from beginning to sustaining according to the PRTs. Wasit was followed by Baghdad, 14.5%, Tamim, 15.7%, Babil, 15.9%, and Qadisiyah, 15.9%. Those four provinces were all over the place in spending their budgets from Qadisiyah that was third from last, only executing 31.5% of its money, to Babil, which spent 63.5% of its budget. The PRTs also ranked all of them at the sustaining level as well. At the opposite end of the spectrum were Karbala, 19.1%, Ninewa 20.9%, Salahaddin, 21.9%, Muthanna, 30.5%, and Dhi Qar, 36.5%, that had the highest unemployment. Ninewa and Salahaddin were both given developing marks in economics by the PRTs, the second to last rating, and were in the middle to bottom in spending their money. Muthanna and Dhi Qar were given sustaining ranks by the PRTs, but barely executed their budgets, with Muthanna in last place.

Unemployment By Province
Wasit 13.6%
Baghdad 14.5%
Tamim 15.7%
Babil 15.9%
Qadisiyah 15.9%
Kurdistan 16.7%
Maysan 17.3%
Anbar 17.4%
Najaf 18.6%
Basra 18.8%
Diyala 19.0%
Karbala 19.1%
Ninewa 20.9%
Salahaddin 21.9%
Muthanna 30.5%
Dhi Qar 36.5%
Avg. 19.5%

The budget execution and unemployment numbers provided by the SIGIR and the PRT assessments are some of the best available information on Iraq’s provinces. They can point out the overall economic situation of each area, and give hints at how they were governed. Overall, the statistics show that party affiliation does not translate into either good or bad policies. The Supreme Council for example ran half of Iraq’s provinces, but that only meant they were both at the top and bottom in terms of developing their areas. The real difference was the growth and performance of local officials, many of which were amateurs when they were elected in 2005. Some provinces showed great improvement according to the PRTs, and that was reflected in their spending and unemployment situation. All eighteen governorates however still needed to get much better at appropriating their money and providing jobs. The problem is that many of the new incoming councils are novices as well, which could mean another long process of learning the nuts and bolts of governing and budgeting with the provinces suffering in the meantime.

SOURCES

Aswat al-Iraq, “41 out of 241 projects implemented in Missan,” 12/30/08

Inter-Agency Information and Analysis Unit, “Iraq Labour Force Analysis 2003-2008,” United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, January 2009

Knights, Michael and McCarthy, Eamon, “Provincial Politics in Iraq: Fragmentation or New Awakening?” Washington Institute for Near East Policy, April 2008

Robertson, Campbell and Glanz, James, “Iraqi Figures Back U.S. View on Low Spending for Reconstruction,” New York Times, 8/21/08

Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, “Quarterly and Semiannual Report to the United States Congress,” 7/30/08
- “Quarterly Report to the United States Congress,” 4/30/09

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