The Iraqi government officials in the cabinet and parliament are still trying to come to an agreement with the 2015 federal budget. The officials postponed the budget meetings to next week due to the falling oil prices. The declining oil prices are creating a major problem with balancing the budget and coming to an agreement. There is a budget deficit due to the security operations in fighting Dash in Anbar province and other government projects. The Iraqi government is has a budget deficit of 36 trillion IQD. The Iraqi government is considering options to cover the deficit. One option is borrowing $5 billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) governor wanted further discussions on borrowing funds from the IMF. The Finance committee is trying to agree on the lowest oil price possible for the budget. There will be a meeting next Tuesday, December 23, to come to an agreement.
The U.S. State Department has approved a military sale of 175 M1 Abrams tanks to the Iraqi government for a total of $570 million dollars. The sale also includes multi-wheeled vehicles, spare parts and have civilian contractors train the Iraqi army on the equipment.
Last summer, the Shiite cleric from Najaf issued a fatwa for all able bodies to defend the country against the Daash terrorist group. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens signed up and left their families and jobs to go to the front lines. While on the front lines fighting Daash, these volunteers had to pay for food themselves. They had to pay for arms and ammunition. Some groups had a better support for these items however; a lot of the volunteers were forgotten unless they were fortunate to be alongside the Iraqi army. The volunteers that are not being supported by the Iraqi government are slowly leaving the front lines and gong back to their families and business. The price of s single bullet for an AK-47 is $2, and the price for the AK-47 is $800. The prices for weapons are going up to the war against Daash continues into 2015.
The Iraqi government is concerned about the corruption in the country. The government is in the process of canceling 4,000 diplomatic passports that some privileged Iraqi’s hold.
The Iraq Central Bank has announced that they will continue with the remittances or the auctions and have no plans to stop it. The Central bank has stated that they are going to be starting the next phase in banking and have been briefing all banks and currency exchanges. The IMF would like to see the Central Bank abandon their current system and go with a national banking system. The CBI is heading in the right direction.