Warning against lifting fuel subsidies
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Baghdad: Muhannad Abdel Wahhab
Representatives and economists called for a retreat from lifting subsidies on oil products and derivatives, and while they pointed to the need to reduce petty cash and spending costs in public sector institutions, they warned that the application of lifting subsidies would affect the lives of citizens and might lead to an escalation of a wave of rejection.
A member of the Services and Reconstruction Committee, Ahmed Al-Sharmani, said: "In conjunction with the steps of economic openness through the path of development, we call for the implementation of a well-studied and tight financial and monetary policy to deal with this openness," noting that "40% of the population is below the poverty line, while fuel and electricity are citizen's lifeline.
Al-Sharmani added, in the “Al-Sabah” interview, that “there is a clear gap between the rich and the poor classes, and it is necessary to maintain fuel and main commodity subsidies, by supporting the industrial and agricultural private sector to provide job opportunities for citizens and reduce unemployment,” noting that “the path of development will reduce the gap.” stratification in society, and it may then be possible to lift subsidies on oil products and goods.”
And he indicated that "controlling government spending inflation needs immediate, medium and long-term plans, including support for the private sector, which will achieve economic stability, which also allows for the lifting of fuel subsidies," calling for "taking into account the high unemployment and poverty in the south of the country, specifically the governorates of Diwaniyah and Muthanna, It is important to point out the state's focus on developing infrastructure, ending chaos in the industrial and agricultural sectors, and stopping the bleeding of hard currency abroad, before considering lifting subsidies.
He continued, "There are urgent files at the present time, including reconsidering the economy in general, leaving the oil rents, and considering fortifying the industrial and agricultural sector as a sovereign issue, in addition to working on the file of water scarcity."
For his part, economic expert Rashid Al-Saadi said: "The idea of lifting subsidies on oil derivatives and related to fuel supply faced parliamentary objections based on popular demands, and for this reason the idea has declined, but the government may resort to other matters to deal with the deficit, including imposing a 10% tax on communication companies." mobile phones, especially prepaid cards. Al-Saadi added, in an interview with "Al-Sabah", that "the popular refusal to lift subsidies on oil products is very clear, although the state must reduce expenditures, including those of the three presidencies and their allocations, which include spending on cars and expenditures of ministries from petty cash, instead of lifting subsidies on oil derivatives." that affect people's lives."
And he called for "complete completion of lagging projects that can turn into successful projects to reduce the public deficit, including activating public transport, in order to reduce the losses of Iraqi Airways."
Edited by: Ali Abdel-Khalek
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