One of the major problems with the Iraqi government is its inability to spend its budget effectively. The country’s eighteen provinces do much worse than the central government in Baghdad. The new Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction’s quarterly report to Congress has the latest numbers on how Iraq’s governorates have done up to October 13, 2009.
Ninewa has spent none of its $236 million budget, probably due to the political disputes between the ruling Al-Hadbaa party and the Kurdish Ninewa Fraternal List, that are boycotting the provincial council. Anbar did the best, spending 70% of its $112 million budget. The new local government there, led by Sheikh Ahmed Abu Risha’s Awakening of Iraq party and Governor Qasim Abed al-Fahadawi, has focused upon developing Anbar and investing in its future.
As reported before, these aggregate numbers show only part of the picture. Almost all of these expenditures are going towards old projects initiated by the previous governments, before the 2009 elections when Iraq was flush with money. Almost every province, has reported a budget deficit this year as a result. Some councils have also not been good at spending their money, such as Maysan that expended 79% its money in 2008, but which went to only 41 of 241 projects. With security improving, Iraqis are increasingly calling for better services, which require that the governorates do a much better job with their finances. A top down, Soviet style management system, a paper based bureaucracy, corruption, and other factors are all reasons why the provinces have not been able to do a better job so far.
Provincial Budgets/% Expended
Anbar $112 mil/70%
Tamim $99 mil/55%
Qadisiyah $86 mil/54%
Dhi Qar $143 mil/48%
Babil $134 mil/41%
Wasit $91 mil/40%
Maysan $80 mil/37%
Baghdad $551 mil/33%
Najaf $93 mil/32%
Karbala $78 mil/29%
Muthanna $56 mil/28%
Basra $201 mil/25%
Diyala $104 mil/23%
Salahaddin $97 mil/17%
Ninewa $236 mil/0%
Dagher, Sam, “In Anbar Province, New Leadership, but Old Problems Persist,” New York Times, 9/13/09
Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, “Quarterly Report to the United States Congress,” 10/30/09
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