Iraq plans to spend up to 20% of 2016 national budget on defense 23010152

Defence & Security News - Iraq
Iraq plans to spend up to 20% of its 2016 national budget on defense
Hoshiyar Zebari, Iraq's minister of finance, told Reuters on Wednesday that an estimated 20 percent of the 2016 national budget will be spent on defense, including paying and arming the Shiite militias known as Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces).
Iraq plans to spend up to 20 of 2016 its national budget on defense 640 001
Zebari said an estimated USD 1 billion will be allocated to the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), a key element in Iraq’s current battle against the Daesh Takfiri group which includes volunteer fighters from Iraq's Shia and Sunni communities. That money would constitute about five percent of Iraq’s projected defense spending.

"There has been a shift in emphasis by the government to improve the quality of the weapons that are needed for this type of war," Hoshiyar Zebari in an interview for the Reuters Middle East Investment Summit.

Many say that the PMF should gain more support from the government in Baghdad as it has proved to be more successful than the military in the ongoing battle against Daesh. The volunteer fighters have managed to retake key positions from militants in north Iraq, including Tikrit and Baiji, two major bastions of Daesh in Iraq’s Salahuddin Province.

Zebari said Iraq’s 2016 draft budget envisages expenditure of about USD 95 billion with a nearly USD 21 billion deficit. The figure shows clear cuts compared with original projections for this year of roughly USD 105 billion of spending and a USD 22 billion deficit with many blaming the decrease on the lower oil prices in the global market. Oil accounts for more than 80 percent of Iraq’s fiscal revenues.