Iraq to cut military spending

24 March 2016

The planned reduction in the defence ministry’s budget comes amid an ongoing financial crisis

Iraq’s government is planning to cut the amount of money allocated to the defence ministry in its 2017 budget according to Majida al-Tamimi, a member of Iraq’s Parliamentary Finance Committee.

“We are looking to reduce the funding allocated to the defence ministry in the next budget,” she told MEED in an interview. “We are negotiating this at the moment, so I cannot give you an exact number.”

The reduction in funding is part of a broader overhaul that will change the way the military spends money, according to Al-Tamimi.

“The ministry of defence is going to rethink the way it spends – spending less on weapons and warfare with Isis. Spending will be focussed more on training and maintaining security,” said Al-Tamimi.

The reduction in military spending that is planned for the 2017 budget is based on the assumption that the most expensive phase of the war against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria will be over by the end of 2016.

“As you can imagine, a big chunk of the budget is going towards fighting Isis. Once it is eliminated this money can be spent elsewhere,” said Al-Tamimi.

Iraq’s defence ministry was allocated between $5bn and $6bn each year in the three years prior to Isis’ 2014 offensive, when the group took control of the country’s second city, Mosul.

After the onset of the 2014 offensive, the defence ministry has taken between $7bn and $10bn from the budget each year.

Iraq is currently in the midst of an economic crisis that has been driven by low oil prices and the ongoing war with Isis.

Due to financial pressure, Iraq has already introduced unprecedented salary cuts for senior civil servants.

In January 2016, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said his country was hoping to secure between $6bn and $7bn in loans from the International Monetary Fund.

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