Analysts and researchers have urged the federal government in Iraq to take immediate measures to reduce poverty rates in Iraq, while stressing the need to achieve justice in the distribution of wealth.
Economic expert Abul-Hasan Al-Musawi explained: "The poverty rate in Iraq has reached 42 per cent, according to a statement issued by the Federal Minister of Planning." He noted: "One of the main reasons for the surging rates of poverty is the lack of justice in the distribution of wealth."
Al-Musawi added: "The recent rise in poverty in Iraq is due to two reasons, the first of which is the COVID-19 pandemic, which affected Iraq as is the case with the rest of the world, and damaged the Iraqi economy, while the second factor is the phenomenon of mismanagement in Iraq, as we lack a proper method of management of this file."
He also indicated: "The government should organise the process of disbursing social welfare payments to reach the beneficiaries and the poor only, in order to eliminate a certain level of poverty and support the private sector with decisions that contribute to its revitalisation to build factories that would provide job opportunities for young people."
Social researcher Abdul Rahman Al-Saraji clarified: "The federal government is unable to take economic measures to confront poverty, due to the lack of transparency in the country's economic system."
Al-Saraji added: "The poverty rate in Iraq affected last year, according to statistics issued by some civil society organisations, about 25 per cent of the total population of Iraq. However, the floating of the Iraqi dinar and its devaluation against the US dollar led to economic setbacks that cast a shadow over citizens' livelihoods, as food prices rose by 20 per cent approximately, leading to increasing poverty rates in the country by 35 per cent (with regard to the total population of Iraq), which, in economic terms, constitutes a disaster that the population would be forced to endure."
Regarding the steps that the government should take to alleviate or eliminate poverty in Iraq, the researcher recommended: "The government should raise the rate of sustainable development, find effective economic strategies to reduce poverty rates, create job opportunities in effective economic fields in the country, such as the activities of the Ministry of Oil and the Ministry of Transport, and stop the flow of non-technical workers, in addition to benefiting from the expertise of the national workforce, activating the private sector by supporting investors, enacting laws to reduce the stifling routine investment procedures, and providing a safe environment, equitable distribution of the country's wealth, and combating administrative corruption."
Al-Saraji reiterated that the government has not implemented any of these measures because the economic system in the country is not well-defined, as it is "neither capitalist nor socialist".