Iraq’s parliament held a second reading of the federal draft budget for 2015 this week but failed to vote on the proposed bill, as the continued slide in oil prices below $50/B rendered the assumption of $60/B for projected revenues unworkable. Some legislators also questioned the generous concessions made to the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in the budget, while depriving Basra, the nation’s economic artery, of its right to a bigger slice of revenues.

Iraq’s draft budget is now back with the finance committee for final amendments before a vote in parliament due on 20 January. However, given the Iraqi assembly’s history, a further delay cannot be ruled out. The calculations are also complicated by the absence of a 2014 budget, which was never passed largely because of a dispute with the KRG at the time over revenue-sharing and wrangling over a proposal to grant more autonomy to Iraq’s provinces. (CONTINUED - 2157 WORDS)