A delegation of officials and locals from the province of Wasit met with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi recently to discuss future employment opportunities, public services, and potential infrastructure projects in light of the protests sweeping across the nation. Abadi’s office asserted that the prime minister met with prominent community figures and tribal leaders as well as the Wasit provincial council alongside the Construction and Services Committee in the hopes that a solution may soon be reached in regards to the civil unrest. Prime Minister Abadi stated that, “Stabilizing security is an important part of helping the country rise and providing services,” and that the government objective is to provide for its citizens, “pointing out that there is an economic renaissance ahead of us after we achieved victory.”
The Prime Minister also cautioned against “the corrupt riding the wagon” of success, stating that there should be cooperation to prevent such a thing from taking place. He demanded the continuity of the al-Sawirah sewer system project, funding towards road repair, the construction of another lane on the al-Sawirah-Hilah highway, and for the water project in al-Kut to be completed. He brought up the importance of “ensuring the determined portion of electricity to the areas of the province, including agricultural areas to ensure irrigation as it is the most important need for the continuation of agriculture.” The prime minister also demanded that the agricultural community’s debts and incurred interests should be re-scheduled given the current water crises; this would apply to keepers of livestock as well. Abadi claimed that poultry farmers should be compensated fairly if their stock had been adversely affected by the bird flu epidemic this year too.
Iraq’s Ministry of Finance will also be working to provide allotments “for rehabilitating and improving infrastructure,” for the al-Hai district. Presently, mobile power stations have been provided to sustain the area. Abadi also put forth a directive to improve the public health care available to residents in the sector. Specifically, Fayrouz Hospital will be expanded upon plus more staff and supplies will be brought in. The Prime Minister is under an immense amount of pressure given the situation at hand and is attempting to maintain his position of power despite the nationwide protests. He has promised a lot of improvements and expansions but only time will tell if he will actually deliver.
Featured image: Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi chairs a meeting of the Council of Ministers in Baghdad on July 24, 2018. | Iraqi Premier’s Office