Ministry: budget amendments cancelled financial assistance to refugees

Iraqi refugees in Mosul (Reuters)

Baghdad ( Amendments to Iraq’s 2017 budget have redirected funds allocated as financial assistance to refugees to reconstruction plans, the Migration and Displacement Ministry said Wednesday.

“The parliament has redirected funds allocated as financial grants to refugees to the reconstruction of the five provinces that had been under the control of Daesh (Islamic State) gangs,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that the change came to ensure the “return of refugees” and to secure funds for local health, electricity and education authorities.

The original 2017 budget was approved in December, worth 78 trillion dinars, with a projected deficit worth 30 trillion dinars. The parliament approved the revised version last Monday with a seven trillion dinar increase, with a projected deficit of 25 trillion dinars.

Iraq’s war against Islamic State militants has displaced more than four million Iraqis since 2014, with a U.S.-backed campaign launched in October 2016 to retake the city of Mosul displacing more than 900.000 people, according to government and United Nations figures.

Besides the human losses, the war in Mosul, and encounters at other Islamic State havens in Iraq, have caused serious damages to infrastructure and basic services. Iraq intends to plead to world donors to assist in mending damaged cities.

Earlier this month, Lise Grande, the United Nations’ human rights coordinator in Iraq, estimated the amount needed for reconstructing Mosul by more than one billion dollars.


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