Iraq Has $79B Budget Surplus

GAO says Bagdad sitting on a lot of money, raising complaints from US senators
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 5, 2008 7:45 PM CDT
Employees work at an installation at the Zubair Moshrif oil field, southeast of Baghdad in July.    (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The Iraqi government could end this year with as much as a $79 billion cumulative budget surplus, based largely on ever-increasing oil revenues, US congressional auditors say. A report by the Government Accountability Office made public today prompted renewed calls from senators that Baghdad pay more of the bill for its own reconstruction, which has been heavily supported with US funds.

"It is inexcusable for US taxpayers to continue to foot the bill for projects the Iraqis are fully capable of funding themselves," said Sen. Carl Levin, a Democrat. The projected Iraq surplus has been building because of rising world oil prices, increasing Iraqi oil production, and the government's inability to execute budgets for spending its money, the  GAO said.