Iraq seeks seven-billion-dollar loan from IMF
1 hour 42 mins ago
Iraq wants a seven-billion-dollar loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to cover its budget deficit, Finance Minister Baqer Jabr Solagh said in an interview published on Monday.
"Iraq is trying to secure a seven-billion-dollar loan from the IMF to cover its budget deficit for this year and next," he told Al-Sabah newspaper.
Solagh said Iraq was also seeking to encourage creditor countries to forgive some of its debts in exchange for "a more open door" approach to investments in his oil-rich country.
In March, the Iraqi parliament passed a 58.9 billion-dollar budget for 2009, after billions were wiped off spending plans because of a sharp fall in oil prices.
Oil and gas production accounts for 90 percent of the war-ravaged country's revenues.
The financial shortfall comes at a difficult time for Iraq as the nation of 29 million people struggles to emerge from a brutal sectarian conflict triggered by the 2003 US-led invasion.
Restoring basic services such as water, electricity and sewage disposal is crucial to ensuring that the bloodshed that peaked in 2006 and 2007 is not triggered again by civilian unrest.
A projected 20.3-billion-dollar deficit this year was initially expected to be financed by unspent allocations from the 2008 budget.