Friday, August 24, 2007


Basra to receive $30 mn. from U.S.

(Azzaman) - The southern city of Basra has received $30 million from U.S. Congress to upgrade its public utilities, a senior official of Basra Reconstruction and Development council said. Tuama al-Nouri, the council’s deputy head, said the grant will be wholly dedicated to service projects a list of which is being prepared.
He did not specify the kind of projects the grant will be used to implement but a previous offer of $34 million was utilized to execute “six schemes”. The U.S. has poured billions of dollars into Iraqi reconstruction but the impact has been negligible due to rampant corruption and the contracting process in which up to a dozen contractors pass the project to one another with each skimming a sizeable portion.
The contracts normally land in the hands of local entrepreneurs who use their connections to centers of power in their areas to make even further financial gains from the meager allocations left for the project.
Meantime, the Danish Foreign Ministry has agreed to finance the reconstruction of a 44-km highway linking Umm Qasr port with Basra. The current road, built in 2002, has been damage by heavy trucks transporting goods from the port to the city.

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