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".

 

Russian, Turkish FMs meet for first time since ties repaired

Four ministers sacked from Libya's unity government

At least 70 killed in north of Syria's Aleppo

Iranians mark annual Quds Day

Egypt becoming departure country for migrants to Europe

Turkish ship carrying Gaza aid leaves for Israel

Diplomatic quartet says Israel must cease settlement expansion

Monitor says Syrian regime pilot captured by rebels

Palestinian dies from tear gas fired by Israeli forces

Palestinian tries to stab Israeli in West Bank, shot dead

Ankara suicide attack mastermind killed

Istanbul airport attackers ‘planned hostage-taking’

Oil prices rise in Asia

US Navy probe finds leadership failings in Iran capture

Quartet report says Israel must urgently halt illegal settlement expansion

At least 70 killed in northern Aleppo clashes

Sisi praises Egyptian 'revolution' against Morsi

US-backed Syria rebels look to cut off ISIS from Iraq border

Egyptian Coptic priest shot dead in El-Arish

Iran sacks heads of four state banks over high pay

EU agrees to opens new chapter with Turkey on accession talks

Detained RSF Turkey representative released

Lebanese army says ISIS attacks foiled, 5 arrested

UN extends Darfur mission despite Sudan opposition

Air strikes kill 150 militants fleeing Fallujah

Turkey detains 13 over airport attack

Palestinian killed by Israeli troops after deadly attack

UN envoy seeks Syria peace talks’ resumption in July

Tunisian killed in Istanbul attack seeking to repatriate IS-linked son

Turkish forces kill 2 suspected IS jihadists at Syria border

Egypt president urges religious reforms to counter extremists

First aid convoy since 2012 enters two besieged Syria towns

Race to succeed Cameron begins after stunning Brexit vote

Yemen peace talks to take two-week break

Iraq secures $2.7 billion US military loan

ISIS pushes back Syria rebel offensive on Iraq route

Israel cabinet approves Turkey reconciliation deal

Turkey airport attack slams limping tourism industry

Putin lifts Turkey travel restrictions, orders trade 'normalised'

Fears for stranded Syrian refugees as Jordan blocks access

Bahrain activist back in jail despite worsening health

41 killed in Istanbul airport bomb, gun attacks

Witnesses recount Istanbul attack

Car bomb kills 10 in Kurdish-held Syria town

Ban to Israeli PM: Gaza blockade ‘collective punishment’