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Iraq's debts hit $113bn

An employee of a currency exchange counter, counts local currency bank notes in the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriyah in the Dhi Qar province, on December 20, 2020. - A year of economic agony for pandemic-hit and oil-reliant Iraq is drawing to a close, but a draft 2021 budget involving a hefty currency devaluation could bring more pain for citizens. Iraq, which relies on oil sales to finance 90 percent of its budget, projects that its economy has shrunk by 11 percent this year, while poverty doubles to 40 percent of the country's 40 million residents. (Photo by Asaad NIAZI / AFP) (Photo by ASAAD NIAZI/AFP via Getty Images)
An employee of a currency exchange counter, counts local currency bank notes in the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriyah in the Dhi Qar province, on December 20, 2020 [ASAAD NIAZI/AFP via Getty Images]

Iraq's internal and external debts have amounted to $113 billion, Iraqi officials announced on Wednesday. "$40 billion of our debts are outstanding for eight countries since the 1980s and 1990s," financial advisor to the Iraqi prime minister, Mazhar Mohammed Saleh, told the official Iraqi News Agency (INA).

Saleh pointed out that the creditors included "Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Kuwait," noting that they were refusing: "To write off their debts even though they are members of the Paris Club." The Paris Club is an informal group of creditor nations whose objective is to find workable solutions to debtor nations' payment problems.

The Iraqi official explained that his country's debts resulted from the "years-long war on Daesh", adding that the debts also included: "$23 billion worth of international loans funding the national developmental projects."

The value of Iraq's public debt represents 49.1 per cent of the country's total Growth Domestic Product (GDP), amounting to $230 billion in 2020, according to official data.

READ: Iraq PM blames 'greedy traders' for rise in product prices

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