Headline November 21 2019/ '' 'IRAQ'S !STUDENTS! MONEY?' ''


MONEY?' ''

IRAQ'S VIOLENT AND SUFFERING PROTESTS raise question : where does the oil money go? :

SCHOOLS BUILDINGS IN BASRA, the province that accounts for the lion's share of oil exports, are crumbling and overcrowded with multiple-shift programs.

On a recent visit to the AI-Akrameen school in the Abu Khaseeb neighbourhood, head master Abdulhussain AbdulKhudher said he had asked the Education Directorate for funding to refurbish the school building erected in 1972 but was told there was no money.

I rely on parents and volunteers to give furniture, keep the place clean for students so they can get an education, he said.

Nearby, another school stood desolate. A young girl walked by and explained that it was empty and the students had been moved to another pre-existing school. It will collapse any minute, she said.

Waves of violent protests have engulfed Baghdad and Iraqi's southern provinces, with demonstrators chanting for the downfall of political establishment that they say doesn't priortise them.

Fuelling the unrest is anger over an economy flush with oil money that has failed to bring jobs or improvements to the lives of young people, who are the majority of those facing taking to the streets. They say they have had enough of blatant government corruption and subpar basic services.

At least 320 people have died, and thousands have been wounded since the unrest began on Oct 1.

We are jobless and poor, but every day we see the flares of the oil fields, said Huda, an activist in Basra, the province that accounts for the lion's share of Iraq's crude exports. She spoke on the condition she be identified only by her first name for security reasons.

''Where do the millions go?'' she asked. It's a good question. Oil accounts for roughly 85-90 percent of state revenue. This year's federal budget anticipated $79 billion in oil money based on projected exports of 3.88 million barrels per day at a price of $56 a barrel.

Iraq's economy improved in 2019 due to rising in oil production, and GDP growth is expected to grow by 4.6pc by the end of the year, according to the World Bank.

The fruits of these riches are rarely seen by the average Iraqi because of financial mismangement , bureaucratic inefficiency and corruption, experts and officials told The Associated Press.

Overall unemployment is around 11pc while 22pc of the population lives in poverty, according to World Bank estimates. A striking one-third of Iraqi youth are without jobs.

One of the main problem is that the oil wealth is spent on the public sector, and especially on salaries, said Ali al-Mawlawi, head of research at al-Bayan Centre, a Baghdad-based think-tank.

Iraq's brand of sectarian power-sharing called the muhasasa system in Arabic effectively empowers political elites to govern based on consensus and informal agreements, marginalising the role of parliament and alienating much of the Iraqi population in the process.

On the ground, this dynamic has played out through a quota system whereby resources are shared among political leaders, with each vying to increase networks of patronage and build support.

To do this, leaders have relied on dolling out government jobs as a foolproof method to preserve loyalty.

This tactic has bloated the public sector and drained Iraq's oil-financed budget, leaving little for investment in badly needed social and infrastructure projects.

That has been the approach said al-Mawlawi. Patronage is based primarily on the provision of jobs rather than anything else. It's the primary way to distribute resources through the public sector.

In the 2019 budget, public sector compensation accounted for nearly 40 pc.

The Honor and Serving of the latest Global Operational Research on Iraq and its difficulties and sufferings, continues. The World Students Society thanks AP.

With respectful dedication to the Leaders, Grandparents, Parents, Students, Professors and Teachers of Iraq. See Ya all on The World Students Society : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter !E-WOW! The Ecosystem 2011:

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Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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