Jul 26 2012
Azzaman, July 26, 2012
Allocations to revamp the country’s rickety power sector have reached $37 billion since the 2003-U.S. invasion, the Electricity Ministry has revealed.
The revelation came in a statement the ministry has faxed to Azzaman in response to public pressure and press reports criticizing the current state of power supplies as most parts of the country still suffer from protracted power outages.
The pressure on the ministry is increasing even by some legislators who have asked for documents detailing how the massive sum has been spent.
This summer has been the hottest in memory in Iraq with temperatures reaching 57 degrees centigrade in the shade, prompting the government to order suspension of work and activities by all state employees.
The statement gave a general account of how the money has been spent but critics are not satisfied, saying the sum is more than the annual budgets of both Jordan and Lebanon put together.
The say the money should have by now enabled the ministry to upgrade the national grade to a level that would have met domestic needs.
But the ministry, in its statement, rejected allegations of accounts missing or money misspent.
It said $16 billion has been paid as salaries and for purchases of fuel from the Oil Ministry and electricity from neighboring countries namely Iran.
The rest, totaling $21 billion, has been earmarked for the construction of new power plants and revamp of the national grid.
The statement said $7 billion are deposited at the Development Fund for Iraq (DFI) as collateral for the numerous contracts the ministry has signed with foreign firms.
The statement said the ministry has so far paid only $17 billion to foreign firms which have completed their contracts and purchases of equipment.
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