Baghdad Minister of Finance Ali Abdul-Amir Allawi revealed that nearly 120 billion dollars have been spent on electricity in Iraq over the past seven years.
The minister said in a press interview conducted with him on the first of September, according to a statement by the Ministry of Finance: “It is estimated that poverty rates in Iraq doubled in 2020. This is due, to a large extent, to the decline in Iraq’s oil revenues, as prices fell globally due to the collapse in demand caused by the pandemic.”
He explained: “Correcting this matter requires policies and investments that enable oil and gas producing countries such as Iraq to direct capital and labor to productive industries in the future, and contribute to empowering and stimulating the role of the private sector. This was one of the main motives behind the white paper for economic reform, which seeks to change the fundamental nature of the Iraqi economy, allowing the private sector to play a greater role, reducing Iraq’s dependence on oil exports, and committing to economic renewal focused on environmentally sound policies and technologies.
He continued: “Iraq can play an important role by taking advantage of the huge potential for producing and providing clean energy, as oil and gas production constitutes up to 40% of the total greenhouse gas emissions and the continuous burning of natural gas in oil wells, which necessitates to reduce gas flaring, and invest it.”
The minister added: “Increasing energy efficiency will have other benefits as well, and this means that we will not need to spend huge amounts to increase the general level of electricity provision,” noting: “Iraq’s inability to provide enough electricity to meet demand has cost the country nearly 120 billion dollars over the past seven years.”
He stated: “Increasing energy efficiency will allow it to create jobs in areas such as building and maintaining energy-efficient green buildings. A recently published International Energy Agency report showed that for every $1 million invested in energy efficiency, up to 30 jobs are created. This is very important in a country like Iraq, which is witnessing huge population increases that will need job opportunities in the future.”
Allawi pointed out: “The worst potential solar sites in Iraq get up to 60% of direct energy from the sun, and this percentage is higher than the best sites in Germany, but with that, the solar power plants built by Germany so far, combined, provide two and a half times the electrical power of all the oil, gas and hydroelectric plants operating in Iraq combined.”
He added: “In order for Iraq to move towards clean energy, it needs financial resources, expertise and policies that will transform its economy in an equitable and affordable manner, and this requires exceptional and significant international support.
Source: National Iraqi News Agency