Saturday, February 7, 2009

How Are The Current Provincial Councils Doing?

The early results for the provincial elections have been released. It will probably take several weeks for the winners to work out deals with some of the other Lists to form new coalitions to rule. While that is going on it might be a good time to review how the soon to be outgoing provincial councils did in 2008. These are numbers based upon the latest quarterly report to Congress by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR). The paper includes some of the latest statistics on Iraq’s eighteen provinces.


Budget execution has been an on-going problem for the Iraqi provinces. Ninewa which is currently ruled by the Kurds did the worst in that regards spending only 7% of its budget largely due to the security situation. They were followed by the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SIIC) in Baghdad with 12%, and the Dawa-SIIC controlled Diyala with 18%. The Supreme Council did a much better job in Najaf with 95%. The Sadrist were second in Maysan with 79%, and the Islamic Party third in Anbar with 69%. Those aggregate numbers however may not mean that the councils actually accomplished much. First Iraq’s government at all levels has always spent a large amount of its operational budget that pays for wages, bills and benefits, but always lagged on its capital budget that includes investing in infrastructure and reconstruction. Second, even if a province spent most of the latter, it may not have been spent well. The Sadrists of Maysan for example, might have expended 79% of their budget, but as reported before they only finished 41 of 241 development projects in 2008.

Who Currently Rules Province And % of 2008 Budget Spent:
Kurdistan (Dohuk, Irbil, Sulaymaniya): Kurds - N/A
Ninewa: Kurds - 7%
Baghdad: SIIC - 12%
Diyala: SIIC - 18%
Qadisiyah: SIIC - 25%
Karbala: SIIC - 33%
Muthanna: SIIC - 36%
Basra: Fadhila - 37%
Dhi Qar: SIIC - 38%
Salahaddin: Kurds - 49%
Wasit: 50%
Tamim: 54%
Babil: SIIC - 58%
Anbar: Iraqi Islamic Party - 69%
Maysan: Sadrists - 79%
Najaf: SIIC - 95%


One of the major issues in the January 2009 election was the provision of services, which are still sorely lacking in many parts of the country. Demand for electricity still outweighs supply. Wasit had the worst performance meeting only 48.1% of demand. Maysan 50.4%, Babil 51.0%, and Najaf 51.5% were almost as bad. The three provinces of Kurdistan, Dohuk, Irbil, and Sulaymaniya did the best job at 83.9%, followed by Diyala 83.0%, and Tamim 82.6%.

Average Electricity Supply & Demand Per Day (Megawatts/Hour) - % Demand Met
Wasit: 2,724/5,655 – 48.1%
Maysan: 2,566/5,090 – 50.4%
Babil: 4,039/7,915 – 51.0%
Najaf: 3,594/6,973 – 51.5%
Karbala: 2,883/5,092 – 56.6%
Qadisiyah: 3,077/4,711 – 65.3%
Baghdad: 31,714/48,420 – 65.4%
Ninewa: 10,587/15,972 – 66.2%
Muthanna: 2,532/3,770 – 67.1%
Basra: 12,032/17,148 – 70.1%
Dhi Qar: 5,404/7,536 – 71.7%
Anbar: 4,589/6,206 – 73.9%
Salahaddin: 5,459/7,186 – 75.9%
Tamim: 5,094/6,162 – 82.6%
Diyala: 3,623/4,362 – 83.0%
Kurdistan (Dohuk, Irbil, Sulaymaniya): 14,627/17,426 – 83.9%


Access to potable water is greatly improving in many provinces, with a few still in bad shape. Kurdistan had the worst water supply at 40%, followed by Diyala 54%, and Muthanna 65%. Tamim, Basra, Babil, Dhi Qar, and Maysan all did the best job providing their residents with water 90% of more of the time. Again, these aggregate numbers hide wide disparities within provinces.

Access To Potable Water:
Kurdistan (Dohuk, Irbil, Sulaymaniya): 40%
Diyala: 54%
Muthanna: 65%
Karbala: 71%
Ninewa: 71%
Salahaddin: 71%
Qadisiyah: 76%
Najaf: 83%
Anbar: 84%
Baghdad: 89%
Wasit: 89%
Maysan: 91%
Dhi Qar: 94%
Babil: 97%
Basra: 98%
Tamim: 98%


Along with a lack of services, poverty is another major issue that Iraqis face. The SIGIR used numbers based upon a United Nations World Food Program report from November 2008 discussed here before. The UN broke Iraq’s population up into five income groups, and found large swaths of the country lived in the bottom two. The poorest provinces were Qadisiyah and Karbala, while the best off were Baghdad and Basra. The latter two are both the economic and political hubs of the country, which could account for their relative lack of poverty compared to the rest of the country.

% Of Families In The Poorest Of Five Income Groups
Baghdad: 5%
Basra: 11%
Najaf: 13%
Salahaddin: 14%
Maysan: 16%
Diyala: 18%
Kurdistan (Dohuk, Irbil, Sulaymaniya): 19%
Wasit: 20%
Anbar: 24%
Dhi Qar: 27%
Babil: 28%
Muthanna: 28%
Ninewa: 31%
Tamim: 31%
Karbala: 36%
Qadisiyah: 37%


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

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

Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, “Quarterly Report and Semiannual report to the United States Congress,” 1/30/09

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