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".

 

Yemen warring parties 'closer' to agreement

Major assaults target IS jihadists in Iraq, Syria

Netanyahu forms ultra-nationalist Israel government

New Afghan Taliban leader named

Female Emirati pilot issues rallying cry to young women

Syrian base used by Russia damaged in IS attack

Kurdish, Arab forces announce anti-IS offensive north of Syria's Raqa

Palestinian PM dismisses Netanyahu proposal

Israel PM's travel expenses under scrutiny

EgyptAir victims' relatives give samples for DNA tests

Iran sends new delegation to Saudi for hajj talks

Hardline cleric elected head of Iran's Assembly of Experts

Civilians trapped as Fallujah siege tightens

Iraq's Fallujah offensive draws attention from embattled PM

Turkey incoming PM unveils cabinet

US, Russia scramble to save Syria truce

Libyan coastguards intercept 550 bound for Europe

Campus bomb kills two in Yemen's Sanaa

Saudi soldier killed in landmine blast on Yemen border

Over 148 killed in IS bombings in Syria regime heartland

Iraq forces battle IS jihadists to retake Fallujah

Erdogan advisor says Turkey could suspend EU deals

Iraq launches military operation to retake Fallujah

Oil prices dip as Iran says no to output freeze

Skepticism ahead of Istanbul humanitarian summit

Sudan steps up pressure for exit of Darfur peacekeepers

UN Palestinian agency says half its schools hit by conflict

Bombs kill more than 120 in Syria regime strongholds

Netanyahu rejects French peace initiative

Gunmen kill 8 worshipers in Darfur

India in deal to turn Iran port into trade hub

Turkey's incoming PM working on new cabinet

Israel lifts ban on Gaza cement deliveries

Yemen warring parties meet after long pause

Egypt enlists submersible to search for EgyptAir crash clues

Tunisia's Ennahda reelects Ghannouchi as party chief

At least 20 dead in Yemen suicide bombing

Syria rebels give truce brokers 48 hours to end regime offensive

Deadly bombings rock northeast Syria as US commander visits

Ex- government minister dies in Libya ISIS clashes

Green Zone breach may set stage for more violence in Iraq

‘Last chance’ to save Yemen peace talks

Egypt deploys submarine in search for clues in plane crash

Erdogan loyalist set to be Turkey PM

Attempt to disperse protesters turns deadly in Iraq