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Iraq defaults on millions in welfare payments

Iraq defaults on millions in welfare payments



Iraq has run out of money to pay for widows‘ benefits, farm crops and other programmes for the poor, its parliament was told yesterday.
In only their fourth session since being elected in March, MPs demanded to know what happened to the estimated £625 million allocated for welfare funding by the finance ministry for 2010.

“We should ask the government where these allocations for widows’ aid have gone,” demanded Maha Adouri of Baghdad, one of the women who make up a quarter of the parliament’s’s 325 members.

“There are thousands of widows who did not receive financial aid for months.”

Another MP said farmers have not been paid for wheat and other crops they supplied the government for at least five months.

The cause of the shortfall was unclear, but officials have worried that the deadlock over forming a new government since March’s inconclusive election ultimately would lead to funding shortages.

Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi promised that the parliament would push the Iraqi government for answers on where the money went.

.The MPs’ eagerness to take up an issue dear to their constituents may have been aimed in part to reverse public scorn for their own lavish pay.

Despite being elected only a short time ago, MPs have continued to pull in salaries and allowances that reach £14,000 a month, as well as one-off perks such as free nights in Baghdad’s finest hotel.


Article Source:  news.scotsman.com/world/Iraq-defaults-on-millions-in.6634360.jp

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