Kur­dis­tan to have three polytech­nic univer­si­ties

Kur­dish MP de­scribes KRG’S 2013 ed­u­ca­tional projects as “strate­gic”

The Kurdish Globe - - EDITORIAL -

In an in­ter­view with the Kur­dish Globe Ameena Zikri, mem­ber of the Ed­u­ca­tion and Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Com­mit­tee at the Kur­dis­tan Par­lia­ment on the ma­jor­ity Kur­dis­tani Bloc, sheds light on the projects of the Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Government (KRG) for the year of 2013.

Be­low is the in­ter­view with MP Zikri:

What sig­nif­i­cant projects will be im­ple­mented with this year’s in­vest­ment bud­get?

Government has 2500 on­go­ing projects and 600 pro­posed projects, with a to­tal bud­get of IQD 5,333,791,000,000 [ap­prox­i­mately US$ 4.4 bil­lion]. Th­ese have been dis­trib­uted over the prov­inces based on re­quire­ments. In the ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor alone, there are 510 schools un­der con­struc­tion, which is an im­por­tant and strate­gic step in the ed­u­ca­tional sec­tor in the re­gion.

Government has re­duced op­er­a­tional costs of its in­sti­tu­tions by 1.96% and added this bud­get to the in­vest­ment projects. More­over, since the draft bud­get was

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submitted to the par­lia­ment ear­lier, the du­ra­tion of im­ple­ment­ing projects has in­creased from 5 months to 9 months, which both re­duces the num­ber of de­layed projects and in­creased the qual­ity of the projects.

What is done in this year’s bud­get for re­duc­ing hous­ing prob­lem, and how this can be ad­dressed?

KRG has used sev­eral meth­ods to re­duce hous­ing is­sue. First is the Law num­ber 7 of 2008 for con­struct­ing res­i­den­tial units for low in­come fam­i­lies, ac­cord­ing to which the KRG built 1,372 units in 2011 and 5,000 units in 2012 via the min­istry of re­con­struc­tion. Till now 20,884 units have been built all over the re­gion.

The sec­ond method is the hous­ing loan plan for which a bud­get is al­lo­cated ev­ery year. In 2012, for in­stance, the loan amount was IQD 20 mil­lion [ap­prox­i­mately US$ 17 thou­sand] per fam­ily in the city cen­ters and IQD 25 mil­lion [ap­prox­i­mately IS$ 21 thou­sand] for the dis­tricts and sub dis­tricts.

Fur­ther­more, government has built more than 8,520

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units for the fam­i­lies of the mar­tyrs. This is in ad­di­tion to dis­tribut­ing more than 67,250 plots of land over other mar­tyrs and An­fal fam­i­lies. Above all, there are cur­rently 3,693 res­i­den­tial projects un­der con­struc­tion by pri­vate sec­tor through the Board of In­vest­ment.

There are a lot of com­plaints about the qual­ity of health ser­vices. What has been done in this re­gard in the bud­get?

5.99% of the 2013’s op­er­a­tional bud­get has been al­lo­cated for health sec­tor. More­over, an­other 4.36% of in­vest­ment bud­get also goes to 54 on­go­ing and 4 pro­posed health projects. The bud­get for the en­tire in­vest­ment projects in the sec­tor is IQD 232,417,000. This is in ad­di­tion to the ex­is­tence of 64 pub­lic and 52 pri­vate hos­pi­tals and 957 health clin­ics. More­over, KRG has helped treat 4,340 pa­tients with can­cer, heart, brain and blood dis­eases. The to­tal cost of th­ese treat­ments has ex­ceeded IQD 5.75 tril­lion (ap­prox­i­mately USD 4.8 bil­lion).

Globe:

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How many pub­lic job op­por­tu­ni­ties will the bud­get cre­ate? Can you ex­plain the distri­bu­tion of th­ese over the min­istries and the ra­tio­nale be­hind that?

15 thou­sand peo­ple will be hired by the government this year. More­over, econ­o­mists es­ti­mate an equiv­a­lent of 90 thou­sand jobs has been cre­ated by the pri­vate sec­tor con­struc­tion projects. This is in ad­di­tion to some 50 thou­sand jobs cre­ated by the ac­tiv­i­ties of the Min­istry of Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties and Tourism, ac­cord­ing to the min­istry’s statis­tics.

Elec­tric­ity has been an is­sue, es­pe­cially in the peak sum­mer and win­ter sea­sons. Is this year’s bud­get ex­pected to solve this is­sue?

In KRG the pri­vate sec­tor pro­duces 80% of the power sup­ply, the rest be­ing the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the pub­lic sec­tor. The elec­tric­ity sec­tor con­sists of gen­er­a­tion, trans­mis­sion and con­trol. KRG, which has more than 1 mil­lion elec­tric­ity sub­scribers, has taken sig-

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nif­i­cant steps in this di­rec­tion. The cur­rent de­mand is around 3,488 MW, while this num­ber was 1,457 in 2006. The government is plan­ning to boost pro­duc­tion to reach 6,000 MW by 2016.

In 2012 the government suc­ceeded to sup­ply 2,700 MW na­tional power for 20 to 22 hours per day; which if com­pared with the 2008 rate of 484 MW, you see a huge boost. This is at a time when the government sup­plies Kirkuk with 200 MW as well.

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What does the bud­get have for the ed­u­ca­tion and higher ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor?

The government has al­lo­cated 3.16% of the to­tal bud­get for this sec­tor. This is in ad­di­tion to 3,350 new staff to be hired for ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor. More­over, the cam­paign for build­ing na­tional schools still con­tin­ues, for which a bud­get of IQD 150 bil­lion (US$125 mil­lion) was al­lo­cated in 2010 as well as IQD 100 bil­lion for each of 2011 and 2012.

Only in 2012 177 schools were built and an­other 510 schools are planned for 2013. There are 460 con­tin­u­ous and pro­posed ed­u­ca­tional projects with a col­lec­tive bud­get of around ID 255 bil­lion.

Higher ed­u­ca­tion, on the other hands, has 5.34% of the to­tal bud­get in ad­di­tion to 1200 new po­si­tions. All this is in ad­di­tion to IQD 120 bil­lion for the con­tin­u­a­tion of the Ca­pac­ity Devel­op­ment Pro­gram, which has al­ready ben­e­fit­ted 2,231 stu­dents. Ac­cord­ing to this pro­gram, the government al­lo­cates an amount of US$130,800 for the schol­ar­ship of each mar­ried master stu­dent, as well as al­lo­cat­ing US$ 251,600 for a mar­ried PhD stu­dent for a full 4 year course. Above all, there are 22 pub­lic and pri­vate univer­si­ties in the re­gion, in ad­di­tion to a de­ci­sion to es­tab­lish three new polytech­nic univer­si­ties for the job mar­ket.

A view of the pri­vate Univer­sity of Kur­dis­tan - Hawler.

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