Political conflicts hamper the budget debate in 2014

Political conflicts hamper the budget debate in 2014

Created on Friday, 22 October 2/2013

Political conflicts hamper the budget debate in 2014BAGHDAD / Mustafa Habib

Adoption of the annual financial budget in Iraq is a vivid example of the negative impact of political conflicts on the economic interests in the country suffers from poor services and investment and unemployment, but what is hiding behind the problems of the budget in 2014?.

According to the Financial Administration Act, the Council of Ministers is authorized only no budget, and is obliged to submit the draft budget to Parliament no later than 11 November (November) every year, but the current government headed by Nouri al-Maliki failed again this year to meet the deadline.

According to the initial draft of the draft budget for 2014 to be worth up to 150 billion dollars on the basis of the adoption of the price of a barrel of oil of $ 90, and the expectations that the volume of Iraqi oil exports 3.4 million barrels per day, and thus be the highest budget in the country since the founding of the Iraqi state in 1921.

The obvious problem is that the apparent size of the annual budget in Iraq are going ascending from one year to another and walking with poverty, unemployment and lack of services at the pace the same upward and the reason for this is due to political conflicts, according to experts, money and the economy.

Says media advisor to the Prime Minister, Ali al-Moussawi’s “Talk” that “there are points of a complex in the budget in 2014 need time to finish them, and there is a sub-committee headed by al-Maliki prepares the budget and after the completion of which will be discussed within the Council of Ministers and then submitted to the Parliament.” Moussawi declined to give a specific date to send the budget to the Parliament, but MPs from different blocs accuse the government of intentionally disable it, and say that the cabinet wants to send the budget in a time of trouble for the Parliament to have approved quickly.

Next year’s budget is facing political challenges and other financial, Parliament passed during the last weeks set of laws of a financial nature will be on the budget makers in the government taken into consideration. And, for example, the parliament decided to increase the salaries of retirees according to complex mechanisms, as he passed a law to increase the financial powers to the provinces, as well as the cause of the shortfall, the budget every year, and this is all that will delay the completion of the budget.

But the most important political challenge in the case is that the three major political blocs Shiite, Kurdish and Sunni used to engage in a heated debate in the parliament to make amendments to the budget sent by the government, which takes a long time.

The most prominent dispute which overshadowed a year on the budget discussions is the share of the Kurdistan region, which has its semi-independently from Iraq, where Shiite parties resort, which leads the government to use the budget as a weapon negotiated with the Kurds. Said Kurdish lawmaker Mahmoud Othman, “al-Maliki did not meet until the day promises to resolve differences with the Kurdistan region as the government delayed sending the budget to the Parliament and this is not true.” “It seems that the government is trying to clamp down on the budget in Parliament sent late to have Parliament for approval soon, especially as the work of Parliament nearing the end of his imam, leaving only a few months.”

Differences with the Kurds are concentrated in three key issues, the first being the proportion of the budget of the Kurdistan region, amounting to 17 per cent of the value of budget funds, as the government is trying to reduce this figure, as it did in the budget of 2013. The remaining two cases, they claim Erbil to Baghdad payment of dues to oil companies operating in the region and to protect the salaries of the elements of the Kurdistan region (Peshmerga).

Deputies said the Kurds that these differences are still stuck and did not solve any of them are in the draft budget, which means that the future parliament after the end of the legislative recess in 15 of the next month on a new round of tough negotiations before the adoption of the budget. Kurds fear of a repeat of the scenario process of approving the budget in 2013, where the failed negotiations to reach consensus between the blocs of Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish, prompting the bloc “National Alliance” to resort to the option of the majority of the passed in spite of the Kurdish lawmakers boycotted the voting session.

In addition to the above, another conflict is going on in each year between the government and Parliament on the final accounts for the doors of the disbursement of funds, where the demands of Parliament need to provide the government, coupes closing of its budget earlier, but the government avoids the pretext of weakness Method in the Ministry of Finance, which is says his MP from the bloc “virtue” Susan Saad “unacceptable and opens the door to corruption.”

There are many provinces that are critical of its share of the budget, and calling on the government after the announcement of the draft budget to increase their quotas, as happened in the 2013 budget as it objected to the provinces of Najaf and Babil, Anbar and Baghdad share.

Disagreements budget often take a long time of negotiations until resolved, and, for example, the budget of 2013, which is supposed to be approved by Parliament before the end of 2012, did not succeed in approving only 7 March of this year, until it became habit that disrupted the process of adoption of the budget scheduled for months. He says economic expert on behalf of Antoine “The adoption of the budget was delayed one month requires the withdrawal of 10 per cent of the budget to cover the current expenditure of the salaries of state employees, if so how was delayed four months.”

Provincial councils are affected much of the delay in adoption of the budget The Ministry of Finance does not conduct provincial funds only after two or more means the loss of half a year of time on the provinces, The city of Basra, the country’s south, was delayed nearly 600 projects, according to a member of the provincial council in which Ahmed Sulaiti, who said a few days ago that “many months lost between the adoption of the budget and then bureaucratic correspondence between us and Baghdad for the launch of our money.”

But the biggest challenge facing the 2014 budget it will be in sync with the approach of parliamentary elections scheduled for April of next year, and this raises concerns about the exploitation of some political blocs budget funds in the election campaign.