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Iraq not using oil cash to rebuild
Sharon Behn, LATimes
January 30, 2008
Increased Iraqi oil revenues stemming from high prices and improved security are piling up in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York rather than being spent on needed reconstruction projects, a Washington Times study of Iraq's spending and revenue figures has shown.
U.S. officials and outside analysts blame the collapse of the country's political and physical infrastructure for Baghdad's failure to spend the money on projects considered vital to restoring stability in the country.
Out of $10 billion budgeted for capital projects in 2007, only 4.4 percent had been spent by August, according to official Iraqi figures reported this month by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). The report cited unofficial figures saying about 24 percent had been spent.
Meanwhile, some $6 billion to $7 billion from last year's budget is "being rolled over" and invested in U.S. treasuries, said Yahia Said, director of Iraq Revenue Watch, part of the private watchdog group Revenue Watch Institute.