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Protesters shut down oil facilities in southern Iraq

A general view of the Shuaiba oil refinery near the southern Iraqi port city of Basra 17 June 2003 [AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP via Getty Images]
A general view of the Shuaiba oil refinery near the southern Iraqi port city of Basra 17 June 2003 [AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP via Getty Images]

Iraqi protesters, on Thursday, closed three oil facilities in Dhi Qar governorate (south) to protest against the omission of clauses relating to job opportunities in the recently approved federal budget.

On Wednesday, the Iraqi parliament approved the annual general budget with total expenditures amounting to 129 trillion Iraqi dinars (about $88 billion).

The budget was approved after three months from the start of the current fiscal year and will come into effect retroactively.

Eyewitnesses told Anadolu Agency that "protesters with university degrees closed the entrances to the Dhi Qar Oil Company, its refinery, and the Oil Products Distribution Company."

The eyewitnesses added that "the demonstrators set fire to vehicle tyres in front of the entrances of the three oil facilities and demanded urgent intervention to produce a more equitable budget that enables them to get jobs."

READ: Kurdistan president affirms commitment to budget agreement with Iraq federal government

The current budget allows the integration of only 8,641 contractual employees in the Ministry of Electricity.

Dhi Qar Governorate is one of the active hotspots for popular protests, as it is home to more than two million people. A large segment of its population regularly protests against mismanagement, poor services, and lack of job opportunities.

The unemployment rate in oil-rich Iraq is 27 per cent, while the poverty rate is 25 per cent, according to the latest statistics of the Ministry of Planning.

Iraq has been witnessing sporadic protests since October 2019 due to the poor economic conditions and widespread financial and political corruption.

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