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Iraq predicts budget crunch for next year

(AP)
Filed on September 29, 2009

BAGHDAD — An Iraqi Finance Ministry official has predicted another budget crunch next year, a move that would limit spending and threaten Iraq’s effort to build a military capable of defending itself.

Deputy Finance Minister Fadhil Othman said Tuesday the proposed 2010 budget of $70 billion is based on an average oil price of $60 a barrel.

It is a slight increase from last year’s $67 billion budget, which had to be cut deeply as oil prices fell from record levels

Officials slashed military spending and reconstruction projects.

It was not clear when Iraq’s parliament will vote on the new budget.

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