Baghdad / .. A New York Times report confirmed that political tensions, low oil prices and the Corona virus outbreak made Iraq in an extremely difficult economic situation as the country is going through its worst crisis in decades.
The report stated that “Iraq’s economic situation is falling apart day after day, as oil prices have fallen as the main source of income for the country, and with the collapse of the world price of oil, the government has resorted to requesting donations to help it overcome the crisis of the Corona virus.”
He added that “the curfew at the national level, which was imposed to slow the spread of the virus, led to the closure of trade and the expulsion of the vast majority of non-governmental workers from jobs, while the government wavered after the anti-government protests toppled the Prime Minister and Parliament remained unanimous in choosing a new leadership for the country.”
“What makes the situation particularly bleak is that the mix of crises has virtually eliminated the entire economy,” said Iraqi economist Basem Jamil Antoine, adding that “the current economic situation is worse than what we saw before because all productive sectors were suspended, there is no industry, no tourism, nor Means of transportation and agriculture are affected to some extent, we are witnessing almost complete paralysis in economic life, with the closure of the borders between the provinces of Iraq and its borders with other countries.
The report added that “oil is currently sold for less than half its price three months ago due to a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia. It has decreased from about $ 60 a barrel at the end of last December to less than $ 30 at the present time.”
For his part, the Executive Director of the International Energy Agency in Paris, Fatih Birol said that “the drop in prices dealt a severe blow to the oil-dependent economies.” But he made it clear that “he will face the most severe blow and is the number one country in terms of impact because he does not have financial reserves and because 90 percent of his revenues come from oil.” “All of these economic pressures are coming in a really very tense political environment.”
And Antoine said that “Iraq’s reserves amount to 62 billion dollars, which the International Monetary Fund considers insufficient.”
The report continued that “Iraq has a limited private sector, some of which are supported by government contracts, in addition to a thriving informal economy. However, both were severely hit by the Coruna virus and by a 24-hour curfew nationwide, and construction workers, street vendors, domestic workers and taxi drivers were forced to stay in their homes. Because most of them live day after day as they earn and have little or no savings, and they may soon be on the brink of hunger. ”
A number of Iraqis said that “it is difficult to say for how long such enormous economic pain can be tolerated, but it is particularly difficult in the absence of political leadership and an epidemic.”