More than six months after parliamentary elections in October 2021 (MEES, 15 October 2021), Iraq is without a new government and a 2022 budget. Monthly state spending is restricted to average 2021 levels, meaning that the current caretaker government of Mustafa al-Kadhimi is unable to capitalize on the windfall generated by $100+/B oil, which has resulted in record monthly export revenues of more than $10bn since March (MEES, 6 May).

With entrenched political divisions delaying government formation, the caretaker cabinet proposed an “emergency food security and development bill” to parliament that aims to sustain current spending, relieve the effects of rising food prices on the public and rekindle financing of key infrastructure projects. Deputy finance minister Tayef Sami told the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) conference in London this week that 35% of the proposed ID35tr ($24bn) will be allocated for capital projects and 35% on food security and humanitarian goods. The bill’s expenditure will eventually be consolidated into a future 2022 budget. (CONTINUED - 1228 WORDS)