In its first
move to monitor government activities, the newly elected parliament has
signaled it would support a resolution under which the public should know about
salaries of senior officials.
The move comes amid rumors that senior Iraqi officials are on massive monthly
salaries of which the Iraqi people are kept in the dark.
The president, for example, is reported to be on one million dollar
salary a month.
The motion before the parliament calls for all government officials
including the president, the prime minister and their deputies as well as other
senior aides to declare the income before assuming office.
Reports that the president gets $1 million a month and that his deputies
and the prime minister are on half a million dollar monthly salary each have
A presidential source, refusing to be named, said the allocations were
for “offices and other expense” like travel and wages for employees working for
However, a senior official from the ruling Shiaa
United Alliance did not deny or confirm the reports.
“I cannot deny or confirm what is going on regarding this point, but I
think it is very necessary for the government to adopt transparency in this
matter,” the official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said.
He said the government was confusing the public and losing trust by “failing
to openly deny such reports.”
It is not clear when the parliament will pass the resolution, which will
be its first since the elections in January.
Iraqis expect the legislators to crack down on rampant corruption in
An Iraqi economist, who also did not want his name be revealed, said if confirmed
true it would make the gap between minimum and highest wages in Iraq the
largest in the world.
“If this is true, then the president’s salary will be 10,000 times that
of pensioners who earn 100-200 dollars a month,” he said.
There are about one million pensioners in Iraq who on
average support families of five to seven people.
This means the nearly 7 million Iraqis who rely on pensions for a living
have to make ends meet with less than one dollar a day while the president gets
The economist said the alleged monthly salary of the president will be
three times what the British prime minister earns in the whole year.
The British prime minister earns about $335,000 year, which is one third
of what “our president allegedly gets in a month.”
While salaries in Britain, for
example, are subject to 30-35% income tax, no government official in the
country, no matter how much he gets, is known to be paying taxes.
The government has yet to introduce an effective tax system and charge
for the public amenities it provides.
Two years after the fall of former leader Saddam Hussein, the government,
still in disarray, has failed to collect electricity and water bills.