Monday, June 21, 2004


Naheya Council Financing

With time, local councils may be able to develop the machinery to raise funds through local taxation. However, at present, Iraq is fortunate in having considerable oil revenue. A portion of this can be allocated to local government councils.
Yearly, 20% of all government spending can be allocated to Naheya councils. Iraq is expected to have around 300 such councils with an average population of 80 000. These funds can be divided among those councils according to population. But with the absence of proper statistics, such funds can be divided equally among them. There is no great injustice in doing that! It may compensate for decades of neglect. With a present budget of $b 6, an average Naheya council would get around $m4 (roughly ID m 7000 at current rates!). This would go a long way to alleviate many grievances and to provide for much needed basic services in many districts. In coming years, revenue is expected to exceed $b 15, leading to something like $m10 per Naheya on average. These are considerable funds for most districts and, being utilized simultaneously, would result in developing the whole of Iraq at great speed.
Iraq at present has vast areas of public land and property. The National Assembly could also decide to transfer some of that property to local government to be a source of extra revenue through sale or lease, etc.
It is imperative that strict financial supervision and auditing is installed in the spending system to prevent mishandling, corruption and ill-practices.

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