May 7 2012
By Marwan al-Ani
Azzaman, May 7, 2012
Authorities in the oil-rich Province of Kirkuk say they have approved a budget of $598 million, the largest in the province’s history.
Kirkuk is a major oil-producing center. It currently produces more than 500 million barrels a day.
Under a new scheme, called ‘the petro-dollar,” oil producing provinces are entitled to one dollar for each barrel of oil originating in their areas.
Kirkuk and the southern Province of Basra have been the main beneficiaries. Basra produces more than 2 million barrels of oil a day.
Hassan Toran, the head of Kirkuk’s provincial council, said the new budget should turn conditions in the provinces for the better.
“The projects that will be implemented through this budget will lead to a quantitative transformation in the quality of public services in the province,” Toran said.
The first priority is electricity and the budget calls for the construction of two power plants specifically to meet the province’s needs.
Toran said sums were set aside to purchase power via the central government from a foreign investor, believed to be Iran which has promised to increase its electricity exports to the country.
Iran produces more electricity than it needs. It is the largest power-producing country in the region with a capacity of more than 70,000 megawatts.
Kirkuk’s Governor Najemeldeen Omer was upbeat about the new budget.
“We all have to work seriously and in a satisfactory manner so that all the inhabitants, villages, cities and towns of the province will benefit from the new budget,” said Omer.
Kirkuk is disputed province with Iraq’s major ethnic communities claiming it for themselves.
The Kurds say it should be added to their autonomous region while Arabs and Turkmen who are the majority would like the province and its oil riches be linked to the central government in Baghdad.
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