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Iraq eyes $70bn record budget

Baghdad, July 3, 2008

Iraq's Finance Ministry wants to raise its budget for this year by 44 per cent to a record $70 billion, cashing in on record oil prices to rebuild shattered infrastructure, the government's spokesman said.

The ministry's submission of a supplementary budget of $21 billion - on top of February's budget of $48 billion - comes as prices for Iraq's main export oil hits record highs.

'This enhanced budget that results from the stability in Iraq's oil exports will have tangible positive effects on the provision of basic services in the country,' government spokesman Ali Al Dabbagh said.

The draft supplementary budget would be discussed by the economic committee of Iraq's cabinet then put before parliament, Dabbagh said.

Iraq has boosted oil output to more than 2.5 million barrels per day, the highest level since the US-led invasion in 2003. Exports are running at around 2m bpd.

Oil Minister Hussain Al Shahristani on Monday announced the opening of Iraq's giant oilfields - which hold the world's third largest reserves - to development by foreign oil firms.

Last week, the government said it would spend $100 million to rebuild the east Baghdad slum of Sadr City, which until recently was a stronghold for anti-American cleric Moqtada Al Sadr's Mehdi Army militia. It is now under state control.




Tags: Oil firms | Iraq | record budget | Rebuild | Sadr City |

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