Iraq no longer able to provide food ration at subsidized prices

Iraq’s Ministry of Trade has announced that it can no longer  provide all food items listed in the food ration supplied monthly by the government, citing lack of sufficient funds for the program in the country’s 2019 budget.

Deputy Trade Minister Walid Musawi said in a press conference in Baghdad that they need at least four trillion dinars ($3.3 billion) a year to account for the main five food items distributed on ration cards monthly.

The government provides rice, sugar, flour, cooking oil and heating oil to each family at subsidized prices on a monthly basis.

In this year’s budget passed recently only 1.5 trillion dinars—less than half of the needed funds—has been allocated to the ministry.

Musawi said that this amount is inadequate given the cost and amount of food items provided on ration cards and mainly imported from outside Iraq.

In 1996 a United Nations proposal suggested that Iraq should be able to sell limited amounts of oil in order to support the needs of its people during the economic sanctions imposed on Baghdad for Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait.

The program was established to “provide Iraq with another opportunity to sell oil to finance the purchase of humanitarian goods, and various mandated United Nations activities concerning Iraq,” according to the UN Security Council.

The food ration program is the continuation of a system put in place during the former Iraqi regime in the 1980s. Source

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