Iraq finally passed its 2018 budget on 3 March, four months after it released its draft budget, amidst typically contentious parliamentary debate and a boycott by Kurdish lawmakers. The document underlines Baghdad’s desire to get its chaotic fiscal house in order. Spending is budgeted at ID104 trillion ($88bn), down 4.6% in real terms from the revised 2017 budget.

While current spending is set to decline only marginally in real terms (see table), parliament opted for a substantial 15.3% cut from $24.1bn in 2017 to $20.8bn in capital expenditures real terms a surprising decrease given the emphasis Baghdad is rightly placing on the monumental task of rebuilding areas torn apart during the fight with the Islamic State. Iraq angled for $88bn in reconstruction funds at last month’s donor conference in Kuwait, raising an initial $30bn in loans and aid (MEES, 16 February). (CONTINUED - 900 WORDS)