Iraq’s Planning Ministry has axed 296 projects worth $9bn and postponed a further 2,169 worth $31bn from the 2017 investment budget in a bid to slash public spending, ministry spokesman ‘Abd al-Zahra al-Hindawi says. At the same time Baghdad needs to secure funding for some 4,500 ongoing projects which will continue to be implemented in next year’s budget, Mr Hindawi tells al-Hayat. These projects will be funded either on a deferred payment basis or financed by the private sector. Priority will be given to utility and service projects like water, sewage, electricity, roads and bridges and infrastructure.

Mr Hindawi says the council of ministers has set up a committee headed by the minister of planning, the central bank (CBI) governor and officials from some other ministries to review the payment of outstanding debts due to contractors. The CBI will settle these arrears with Iraqi treasury bonds. Contractors who have completed more than 80% of a project will be paid in full, while those contractors whose projects are less than 80% complete, will be paid only 40% of the cost, with the balance settled after full completion. (CONTINUED - 362 WORDS)