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US says Iraq spends little oil cash on post-war reconstruction efforts

China Daily | Updated: 2008-08-07 08:51

Iraq has spent little of its growing oil revenues on rebuilding its war-ravaged infrastructure, while the United States has paid billions of dollars for reconstruction, a new US report said on Tuesday.

Since the US-led invasion in 2003, American taxpayers have paid about $48 billion for stabilization and reconstruction activities in Iraq, said the report from the Government Accountability Office, a congressional watchdog agency.

The report said despite oil revenues that will give Iraq an estimated budget surplus of $52.3 billion this year, its government ministries have made minimal outlays for reconstruction, including just $896 million last year.

Senior US senators from both political parties who requested the report said it showed US taxpayers should stop footing the bill for rebuilding things such as Iraqi sewage plants and electricity power lines.

"Despite Iraq earning billions of dollars in oil revenue in the past five years, US taxpayer money has been the overwhelming source of Iraq reconstruction funds," said Sen. John Warner, a Virginia Republican.

"We should not be paying for Iraqi projects, while Iraqi oil revenues continue to pile up in the bank, including outrageous profits from $4 a gallon gas prices in the US," said Senator Carl Levin.

"We should require that US taxpayers be reimbursed for the cost of large projects."

The war in Iraq, where the United States has about 144,000 troops, is a major issue in the campaign for US presidential and congressional elections on Nov 4, along with the flagging economy, a housing crisis and the price of gas.


(China Daily 08/07/2008 page38)

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