Iraq signs agreement with World Bank for $250 mln loan

09:36, March 19, 2010      

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Iraq has signed an agreement to receive a loan of 250 million U.S. dollars from the World Bank to reduce the gap of the deficit of the country's 2010 budget, the Ministry of Finance said on Thursday.

The Minister of Finance Baqer Jaber Solagh signed the deal with a representative for the World Bank in Baghdad, the ministry said in a statement.

The loan was the first part of the 500-million-dollar package, which will be used by the Iraqi government to finance the 2010 budget deficit, it said.

On February 25, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a 3.6-billion-dollar loan to Iraq to help the war-torn country meet the pressing financial needs.

The deficit of Iraq's 2010 budget is 19.6 billion dollars, or 27.1 percent of the total expenditure in 2010. The IMF loan is aiming to reduce the budget gap to 19 percent.

In January, the Iraqi parliament passed the 2010 budget that sets federal spending at around 72.4 billion dollars.

Iraq is mainly depends on oil revenue which was hit hard by the falling of the oil prices in 2009 and the international economic crisis.

The country has the world's third-largest proven oil reserves, behind Saudi Arabia and Iran, with an estimated 115 billion barrels. It is producing roughly 2.5 million barrels a day, mostly for export.

Source: Xinhua
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