Foreign debt in general is a process employed by States when they are unable to fill the requirements of expenses depending on their own financial resources, and the risk of external debt is in the paralyzation of the development efforts, and the social and political effects on the indebted countries, and in its dependency to creditors and its exposure to the kind of international and financial “terrorism “which aims to subject economic and political decisions to these countries for the control and interference in its internal affairs under the pressure of the increase of its debt, and this is evident in the cases of countries that are forced to seek rescheduling of its external debt or obtain new loans, where it deepens of the subordination of the indebted state to the international capital.
And that the imbalance in the fiscal policy of the Iraqi economy is confirmed by the continuous deficit in the previous budgets, and the current budget for the year 2017,and the financing of this deficit by borrowing; it means that the economy is suffering a severe financial problems, and moving randomly and disorderly in the absence of the productive sectors, particularly industry, agriculture and tourism sectors.
And if the loans were used for economic development and infrastructure development of the country, it would raise the level of its economic development and overcome the crisis, but those loans go for operational spending, not investment, making the economy of Iraq is under the pressure of debts that it needs for payment it , which is a temporary treatments as a result of the fiscal deficit.
Among the reasons of this deficit are the lower oil prices, failed economic policy and the continuation of financial and administrative corruption.
And it decided in 2017 that the size of the Iraqi budget expenditures of more than 100 trillion Iraqi dinars, including the installments of internal and external debt.
The revenue amounts to more than 79 trillion, based on a price of $ 42 per barrel, and the price of 1182 dinars ,an exchange rate per dollar, and the revenues were calculated on the basis of export of crude oil by about 3.75 million barrels per day , including 250,000 barrels of product in the Kurdistan region and 300,000 barrels of product in the Kirkuk province.
Based on previous data on revenues and expenditures; a budget will face a deficit, estimated at more than 21 trillion Iraqi dinars, which is less for the registered actual deficit for the budget 2016 of 34 trillion Iraqi dinars, while the planned deficit was by 24 trillion Iraqi dinars, according to a previous study by the Rawabet Centre for Research and strategic Studies.
And the deficit was due to the lower oil prices and corruption in the financial management and continuing financial waste of foreign currency from the cash reserve, as the reserves of foreign currency of the Central Bank of Iraq is in continuous decline, reaching $ 43 billion in 2016, while it was $ 53 billion at the end 2015 and recent estimates expect the continuation to decline in 2017 to a lower level than that, and this is a big problem.
The following table shows the items of the budget approved for the year 2017
And the deficit is covered from the internal and external borrowing, and amounts of retained cash in the account of Federal Ministry of Finance , savings are expected from the increase of the sale prices of the exported crude oil and the increase of crude oil exports, and the Federal Minister of Finance is authorized to cover the actual deficit.
And the internal borrowing is made from the assets of the ministries accounts and departments not associated with the Ministry in the State banks and national bonds of the public, and bonds and remittances of the treasury to government banks, in addition to the issuance of remittances of treasury and national bonds for the public , and bonds and remittances to government banks, settled with the Central Bank of Iraq, and loans from commercial banks , while the external borrowing is carried out from the World Bank and the international Monetary Fund and the Japanese Agency for international cooperation to support the budget in addition to the issuance of foreign bonds.
And entered Iraq since 2003 sums up to ten times to the income of the Iraqi state since its inception, but the money that entered Iraq since 2003, did not invest in building the economy, which today is suffering a contraction after a drop in oil prices, the loss of the ability to export the required amount of oil daily and the increase of operating expenses due to the war, being waged by Iraq against “Daesh”, which made the Iraqi state relies heavily on foreign borrowing to cover the deficit.
Foreign loans upon which Iraq depends
Iraq is committed with many of the foreign debts to cover the deficit in the budget, including :
– the loans of the Japanese Bank for International Cooperation worth $ 500 million in funding for the Ministry of Electricity projects.
– The Islamic Development Bank loan of $ 800 million to finance projects for the ministries of electricity, Construction and Housing and Municipalities and Public Works, Health, Municipality of Baghdad, higher education and scientific research.
– Japanese Agency loan for International Cooperation of $ 1,500 million to finance projects for the benefit of the ministries of oil, Construction and Housing and Municipalities and Public Works, water resources, electricity, industry and minerals, health, communications, transportation, and the ministries of health, electricity belonging to the Kurdistan region.
– German Development Bank loan of $ 600 million to finance the reconstruction projects of liberated areas from terrorism for 2017
– Italian loan in the amount of $ 160 million for projects each of the ministries of water resources and agriculture.
– The US loan amount of $ 2.7 billion to finance the needs of the Ministry of Defense.
– The World Bank loan in the amount of $ 500 million to finance projects for the benefit of the Ministry of Electricity, and the Municipality of Baghdad, the Ministry of Construction and Housing, public and municipalities, and the Finance Ministry.
– British exports Bank loan to finance infrastructure projects in the amount of $ 16 million.
– – Swedish loan amount of $ 500 million to finance the Ministry of Electricity projects.
– A loan from the two Chinese companies amount of $ 2.5 billion to buy weapons and ammunition in a manner of delayed payment for each of the interior and defense ministries and the Authority of popular crowd and anti- terrorism service.
The following table shows the total foreign loans planned to get it by Iraq to finance its budget deficit.
Kurdistan region ‘s share in the budget
The region ‘s share is determined by 17% of the total actual expenditures (current expenditures and expenses of the investment projects), and paid by the Federal Ministry of Finance with the consent of the Prime Minister, and when an increase or decrease occurred in the total expenses of the budget , add or reduce the share of the Kurdistan region directly in proportional with these increases or decreases. And allocate for the land forces of the Federal Iraqi army and the Peshmerga forces according to population ratios as part of the Iraqi security system.
Upon the failure of the region to pay the gained federal incomes to the Federal public treasury , the Federal Ministry of Finance to deduct defined share equivalent to the revenues planned in the federal budget and conducting settlement of calculations later.
And in the event of non- commitment of any party , whether the Federal Government, or KRG to oil or financial obligations agreed to it in the budget , the other party is also not committed to fulfilling its financial or oil obligations .
The regime government is committed to exporting at least 250,000 barrels per day of crude oil from its fields, and the transfer of at least 300,000 barrels of crude a day from the province of Kirkuk fields to marketing and delivery of its revenues to the Federal public treasury .
The government retrenches expenses
The budget stated on the retrenchment of spending , including the deduction of 4.8% of the total salaries and allowances for all state employees and the public sector and all pensioners to meet the needs of the state of the popular crowd expenses and provide relief to the displaced people and others, and within the allocations earmarked within the federal budget for the current year.
The federal government also obligated the Kurdistan Regional Government to deduct 4.8% of the total salaries and allowances for all staff and pensioners of it; to meet the needs of the region , including the needs of the Peshmerga forces out of the region ‘s share amounting to 17%, and included in the federal budget for the current year.
Among the methods of retrenchment also are to reduce the amounts allocated for fuel and maintenance of the used vehicles , and the employee who uses a state car bears the fuel and maintenance expenses fully with the exception of working and farm and productive cars and ambulance cars and cars of transport of staff and security services.
The budget stressed to reduce the external scholarship expenses and restricted only for the very necessary purposes and reduce the number of delegates to 50% with the limitation of the duration of scholarship with less period , and not to organize any conference outside Iraq, and to prevent renting private jets from the state treasury.
It also stressed the cessation of appointments in the departments of State and activation of tax collection and prevent appointment in all government departments in the contract way with the possibility of renewal of previous contracts in the event of a need for it, and non-appointment in any leadership positions , Director General and onward unless there is a place in ministry Act.
And the budget stated to transfer all the media and communications revenues of 2016 to the accounts of Federal public treasury of the State , and taxing the cards of mobile phones and networks ofwith an the Internet increase by 20% in addition to forcing companies pay their amounts and fines and financial commitments in the first half of 2017 and registered revenues of the state .
And the imposition of an airport tax with a deducted sum of $ 20 per ticket in all Iraqi airports for outside travel and register it as the revenue to the public treasury, and activates the electricity, telephone, water, sewer fees and all other fees within their own laws.
And the budget obligated the Foreign Ministry to reduce the number of employees of foreign service personnel in missions by at least 25% of the current staff.
As it obligated the ministries of culture and commerce, defense and health , higher education and scientific research to close attachés or transfer it to the headquarters of embassies and reduce the number of employees working in the attaché at no less than the ratio mentioned above.
And the budget prevented to hire private jets from the state treasury and the presidential plane used in the Council of Ministers to be used by the three presidencies and the presidency bears all the cost involved.
The budget of the popular crowd
The budget obligated the Ministry of Finance to open current account in the name of the popular crowd Commission and did not give its value, and that is the deduction of 3.8% of the total salaries and allowances for all state employees and public sector and retirees to cover all the needs of the state of the popular crowd expenses.
And the budget gave the competent minister or the head of the body which is not related to the Ministry or the governor , an authority to grant the one who completed five years of actual duration of the job of the staff , a leave with the original salary for five years and be without a salary to the ones who completed more than five years and be counted for the purposes of retirement , to be paid complete pension deductions within a period of enjoyment of the leave, and to get the approval of the Prime Minister , if the employee rank of director general or above.
And the budget of 2017 stated to establish a fund to restructure areas destroyed by the terrorism and enjoys with legal personality and administrative and financial independence and funded by the international aids and grants and what was allocated for it within the Federal general budget and its work regulated with a law issued by the council of ministers.
Forms of the dependency of economic loans
– commercial dependency: It means the control of global demand the rates of state economies growth as the export sector is the main source of income for the state, which often do not diverse its exports of raw materials and depend on one raw material (such as oil) or a limited range of materials .
– Financial dependency : it is the association of a financial institution of the state to the international capitalist system, which brings to it several risks, including the possibility of freeze by Western governments , as happened with the Iraqi and Libyan deposits, where the need of States to capital to fund their development plans called to open the way for the entry of foreign capital with its multiple forms.
– Technological dependency (globalization): It means the horizontal transfer of any technology which means to import it from developed countries in stead of working to develop it nationally or regionally .
From the above we conclude that the burden of loan service burdened the Iraqi economy, and arrived at the high and critical rates that affect the economic, social and political situation of the state, and foreign debt predicament of the state has become critical to call for an urgent solution before reaching the levels that it is difficult to even think about achieving economic growth rates.
The negative impact of external debt is reflected on the financial and import capacity of the state, and the operations of the investment required to achieve the goals of rapid growth that their economies aspire to it.
The negative impact in the fact that the burdens of external debt took possession for high rates of GDP and constitute a reduction of financial resources that could be directed to savings and economic expansion, and the rise in external debt is a burden on foreign exchange reserves.
And finally it must be recalled that the defect does not lie in the question of foreign lending, but in the nature of the uses of these funds. There are states where the foreign capital played a key role to develop them; because of the optimal utilization of this lending, which helped to create fiscal surpluses that it exported it to developing countries.
For most developing countries, including Iraq, the foreign capital did not play a role that should be played in the development of these countries; which put it in a suffocating debt that it had a social and political implications no less dangerous than the economic effects.
Unit Economic Studies
Translated by : Mudhaffar al-Kusairi
Rawabet Research and Strategic Studies Center