First Published: 2012-11-06

 

Iraq looks to end food-to-poor in favour of direct cash transfers

 

Because of inefficiencies, corruption, only around 6,000 dinars' ($5) worth of food finds its way to Iraqis, according to Maliki’s spokesman.

 

Middle East Online

Dire living conditions

BAGHDAD - Iraq's cabinet on Tuesday voted to remove the country's largest social welfare programme, a food distribution system, in favour of a direct cash transfer to citizens, a spokesman said.

The reform, due to come into force on March 1, would mean all Iraqis would be entitled to a 15,000 Iraqi dinar ($12.50) monthly payment in lieu of the current ration card system where families are entitled to claim basic items from local supermarkets.

The programme was implemented by now-executed Saddam Hussein in response to the embargo and sanctions imposed on Iraq following his invasion of neighbouring Kuwait.

"The decision came after a two-year study, and the government reached the conclusion that the best way forward was to give cash to citizens," said Ali Mussawi, spokesman for Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, after a cabinet meeting.

"It is also the best way to combat corruption, and it can be carried out easily."

Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said in a statement that, in addition to the cash transfer, authorities would also fix the price of flour, currently one of the main items that can be claimed as part of the ration card.

Mussawi said that the government currently spends around 12,000 dinars ($10) per person per month on the ration card programme, amounting to around seven percent of the Iraqi budget according to a UN report last year, more than either the health or education budgets.

But because of inefficiencies and corruption, only around 6,000 dinars' ($5) worth of food finds its way to Iraqis, according to Mussawi.

The UN report last year advocated reform of the ration card programme, Iraq's biggest social safety net, with the report describing it as "inefficient in several ways" and "vulnerable to theft and corruption".

 

Saudi Arabia foils suicide bombing against US embassy in Riyadh

Kerry meets Zarif on Iran nuclear deal, Yemen crisis

UN blames Israel for Gaza shelter attacks

New rebel alliance ups the ante on Syria regime

Qatar unveils world’s biggest environment project

Syria defence minister starts official visit to Iran

Morocco arrests four people over 'burning alive' fatwa

Arab Israelis observe general strike over house demolitions

IS Libya killings videos haunts asylum seekers in Israel

Gulf foreign ministers set to meet with focus on Yemen war

Iran leads NAM calls for Israel to give up nuclear weapons

UN: Israeli actions killed 44 Palestinians at UN shelters

Journalists face ‘deadliest period’ in recent history

Leading member of Syria ‘tolerated’ opposition escapes to Spain

Arab coalition adopts two-pronged strategy to resolve Yemen conflict

‘Islamic State’ stones two men to death in Iraq

Syrian rock bands finding safety in Lebanon

Coalition strikes continue as bread, medicine run short in Yemen

Guantanamo ex-inmates demand compensation from US

Novelists withdraw from NY gala in Charlie Hebdo protest

Islamist rebels overrun army base in Syria Idlib province

Iraq forces suffer heavy losses in battle of Ramadi

In new provocation, Iran Guards chief likens Saudi Arabia to Israel

Sudan president reelected with more than 94% of vote

Israel charges soldiers for theft in Gaza war

First Saudi National Guards deployed on Yemen border zone

Israel invites tenders for 77 East Jerusalem settler homes

Sudan to unveil election results

Sudan accuses UNAMID of killing civilians in Darfur

Turkey rounds up 350 migrants en route to Europe

Iraq army announces ‘progress’ in Anbar province

Will Somalia Shebab choose Qaeda or Islamic State?

Abbas condemns Israel killing of two young Palestinians in separate incidents

Civilian massacre in Syria northwestern town of Jisr al-Shughur

New UN envoy looks to revive talks as battles intensify across Yemen

‘Islamic State’ suicide bombers target Iraq-Jordan crossing

Four Egypt Islamists killed while preparing bombs

Extremist groups capture last major regime holdout in northwest Syria

‘Islamic State’ kills Iraq senior officers in Anbar province

Deadly fighting rages in Yemen southern towns

Entrepreneurs encourage people to ‘buy Syrian’

Over 100 children killed in Yemen since March 26

Libya militia alliance 'carries out air raids' against IS

UN 'confident' rebels will sign Mali peace deal

Petraeus gets two years probation for info leak