25 January 2016
Iraq has cancelled 296 projects and postponed another 2,000 projects to reduce spending.
Iraq has cancelled around 290 projects worth IQD 10 trillion (USD 9 billion) and postponed another 2,100 projects worth IQD 37 trillion as weak oil prices and security spending take a toll on state finances, an Iraqi official said.
Planning ministry spokesperson Abdulzahra al-Hindawi told Zawya that the government was still going ahead with around 3,500 projects approved under the 2015 fiscal plan that are important for economic and social development. He said they included power, water, sewage and agriculture projects.
"There are no new projects lined up for 2016 because of the high budget deficit," he said. "Of the 6,000 projects that were planned in 2015, 296 projects have been cancelled and 2,169 projects have been postponed, which has reduced pressure on government spending."
"The remaining projects...have been divided into two or three categories, either to be funded by local or foreign companies on a deferred payment basis with caps put in place, or to be offered for investment, especially projects that are more than 50 percent complete," he added.
Hindawi put the total value of green-lit projects at around IQD 159 trillion.
The Iraqi government, which relies on oil sales for around 95 percent of its revenue, has forecast a budget deficit of IQD 24 trillion for 2016. To help cover the budget gap, Baghdad has issued international bonds and plans to sell local bonds to the public, the finance minister was quoted by Reuters as saying last week.