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More Belt-Tightening in Store for Iraqis

February 12, 2006
eDinar Financial

The outgoing government is reported to have agreed to these conditions, which among other things, require that Iraq to enter into long-term partnership deals with foreign firms to develop the country’s massive oil wealth.

Sources, refusing to be named, leaked information of the deal which the government has so far opted to keep under wraps.

Fuel prices will have to be raised to levels comparable to those in neighboring countries, according to the deal.

The expected upsurge in fuel prices will come on top of the hikes the government made recently and which led to demonstrations across the country.

The sources said millions of Iraqis dependent on food rations for a living need now to prepare themselves to do without government-subsidized food.

The deal will have to be ratified by the parliament but the outgoing government of Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, though agreeing to it, has refused to send it to the legislators.

World Bank, International Monetary Fund and creditor countries have written off most of Iraqi debts.

But these institutions and countries, the sources said, would like Iraq to open up its oil fields to foreign investments.

Any further hikes in fuel rates are bound to backfire on the new government and are very likely to lead to large-scale rioting.

But the scrapping of food rations will have far graver consequences as millions of Iraqis will find it almost impossible to make ends meet without them.(Source)Nidhal al-Laithi, Azzaman