Iraq cabinet proposes $115-billion budget for 2013
Iraq's cabinet approved a $115 billion budget for 2013 on Tuesday, an 18 per cent increase on this year's spending programme, a government spokesman said AFP reported.
The 138 trillion dinar budget, which still requires parliamentary approval, is 21 trillion dinars greater than Iraq's 2012 budget, and is based on average oil prices of $90 per barrel and expected production of 2.9 million barrels of oil per day, Ali al-Dabbagh said in a statement.
Iraq's economy and government revenues are heavily dependent on oil sales, and the country has been dramatically ramping up production and exports in recent years, with still greater increases projected.
Included in the 2013 budget is an expected 250,000 bpd of exports from Iraq's autonomous northern Kurdistan region, which is locked in dispute with the central government over energy contracts with foreign firms.
Forty per cent of the proposed budget is earmarked for capital investments, with the rest set for the payment of salaries and other government operations.
The main priorities of the spending programme are electricity and security, which account for 21 per cent and 14 per cent of the proposed budget respectively.
Nearly a decade after the US-led invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein, Iraq still suffers from persistent power cuts, and Iraqis typically get between six to eight hours of electricity per day.
Security, meanwhile, remains unstable -- while violence is down markedly from its peak in 2006 and 2007, attacks remain common, and at least 250 people have been killed in each of the past four months, according to an AFP tally.