Too many Iraqis in government jobs: UN

BAGHDAD - Iraq is employing too many people in government jobs and a precipitous fall in oil prices makes the situation untenable, a United Nations report warned on Sunday.

By (AFP)

Published: Sun 15 Feb 2009, 6:19 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 10:22 PM

Unemployment is particularly bad among young men in the war-torn country, with males aged between 15 and 29 making up 57 percent of the total 18 percent of people who are out of work.

"The number of Iraqis employed in the public sector has doubled since 2005...currently providing 43 percent of all jobs in Iraq," said the survey by the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

"The recent sharp drop in oil prices and absence of other budget sources makes this level of public employment unsustainable," the Iraq Labour Force Analysis 2003-2008 report said.

A dominant public sector, which offers secure and relatively highly-paid jobs, is stifling efforts to create viable businesses offering alternative employment, it said.

"Full-time private employment has fallen from 25 percent in 2003 to 17 percent in 2008," the report said.

Iraq has already twice cut its budget because of the fall in world oil prices. The original 80 billion dollars allocated for spending in July 2008 was cut in December to 67 billion, and again last month to 62 billion.

The price of crude oil in that time has fallen from a peak of around 147 dollars a barrel to around 40 dollars a barrel.

The UN report noted that Iraq's private and public sectors are ill-equipped to provide jobs for 450,000 new entrants yearly into the labour force.

"In a climate of financial constraint caused by the drop in oil prices, public sector salaries and pensions (constituting 35 percent of planned expenditure in 2009) will strain the government budget," the report said.

Too few women are working also. "Only 17 percent of women participate in the labour force -- a low proportion compared to most of Iraq's neighbours," it added.

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