Iraq’s Basra approves $216m power projects

Iraq’s southern Basra governorate approved 60 new power projects with a value of 255 billion dinars (218 million dollars) within its 2015 budget, a news network in the conflict-battered Arab country reported on Thursday.

The province’s governing council endorsed the projects at an emergency meeting on Monday, when it also cancelled a number of projects for 2014 after Iraq’s central government failed to release the budget for that year, Al-Forat News said.

“The council approved only strategic and important projects for this year with a total value of about 255 billion dinars,” the report said, quoting Mujeeb Al-Hasaei, chairman of the energy committee in the Basra council.

Al-Forat quoted Abbas Fadel, director of planning at Basra’s electricity directorate, as saying the council took into account budget constraints by endorsing those projects.

“The projects approved by the council are below the ambitions and needs of the electricity directorate because of budget constraints this year…we hope those projects will be launched before summer,” he said.

A Basra official said last week the governorate, Iraq’s wealthiest province, had approved a budget of about 4.3 trillion dinars (3.6 billion dollars) for 2015 but was allocated only 1.3 trillion dinars (1.11 billion dollars) by the central government in Baghdad because of lower oil prices and soaring military spending.

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