Iraq reduces below poverty line to 16% from 23%
The number of Iraqis under poverty line has been reduced to 16% of the country’s population of more than 30 million people from 23%, said Labor and Social Affairs minister.
The minister Nassar al-Rubaai said one main reason for the drop in poverty has been the country’s social security network and the interest free loans the ministry extends to low-income families to start small businesses.
“The government has begun implementing national and strategic policies to alleviate poverty in accordance with the national vision that calls for the building of a democratic, just and balanced society,” the minister said.
He said this year the government has allocated $84 million to support small projects by low income families across the country with the social security system currently covering almost all Iraqis with no regular income.
“These allocations and policies have contributed to reducing the rate of those under poverty line from 23% to 16%,” he said.
The plunge in poverty line has positively impacted employment which is still estimated at 16% in Iraq, the minister added.
Iraq has seen a surge in its hard cash earnings due to marked increases in its oil export and firm oil prices in international markets.
But the country still remains almost solely reliant on oil royalties for its hard cash most of which goes to covering civil servant salaries, defense and imports.
The country’s exports other than oil are almost negligible.