Slums of Iraq, a paper to win voters’ votes

Slums of Iraq, a paper to win voters’ votes

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Parliamentary Committee of the provinces and regions opposed the members of the Iraqi Council of Representatives in favor of the law of ownership or lease of slums in Iraq, and considered it a quick recipe for obtaining the votes of voters as they promised them to hand over these lands and include the law on the agenda of the Council.

Member of the Committee, MP Mohammed Othman, said that the law on the ownership of agricultural land and slums is within the the jurisdiction of the parliamentary agricultural Committee , adding that the “land ownership needs to be approved by the ministries and departments concerned, which can not be achieved at the moment,” noting that ” some of members of the parliament seek to put the law mentioned on the agenda of the parliament and vote on it for electoral gains after they promised their public for the ownership of land.

The Iraqi Ministry of Planning confirmed and according to its data that the number of communities of random housing amounted to 3 thousand and 687 gatherings in 12 provinces.

The capital Baghdad (8 million) was topped by 1000 random areas, followed by Basra governorate (about 3 million people) with 700 random areas. Najaf and Karbala were the least in terms of random gatherings, with only 89 gatherings.
Iraqi ministry of planning estimated according to a survey of the number of slum dwellers, according to a survey of the number of housing units of 522 thousand units with 3 million and 300 thousand citizens, constituting 13% of the population of Iraq.

According to the Ministry’s data, 88% of the random settlements were established in land owned by the government, while the numbers of slums on land owned by the private sector were 12%. Land use in residential type was 26% and non-residential 74% which means that the need for Housing represents the lowest proportion, while the largest percentage went to the establishment of projects and various investment works on public and private property without legal basis.

The next election is the reason for the promise of ownership:
According to some citizens, issuing the law at this time before the parliamentary elections is a competition between the political forces to win the votes of the voters in the first place, and raises doubts and suspicion that the purpose of promises to issue the law is early election propaganda.
In the view of some observers, the law in its current form, is an encouragement to bypass state funds and even private funds, and such legislation can push the citizen to infringe on the law and non-respect of it.

The adoption of this law without legal controls and strict instructions encourages some citizens to overcome it and exploit it to achieve gains they do not deserve.
They pointed out that previous laws similar to this law provided for prison sentences for violators, including Law No. 548 that is legislated in 1979 under the reign of President Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr, which includes the ownership of transgressors on the territory of the state to establish a residential house thereon, provided that the establishment of the house before the date of 1- 1- 1979 on the land owned by the state or municipalities within the municipal boundaries, provided that the ownership is the real value of it , and be within the residential areas, according to the basic designs of the cities, or within the areas that allow these designs to create houses on them.

It seems that the said decision includes punishing anyone who transgresses the construction after the entry into force of this decision on land belonging to the state and the municipalities, to imprisonment for a period of not less than six months and not exceeding two years and a fine not less than three hundred dinars and not exceeding two thousand dinars, or one of them with the removal of surpassing without any compensation.

Some citizens believe that there is exploitation of some blocs on the legislation of almost electoral laws affecting the demographic map of the country, and that giving legitimacy to infringements on the public and private right affects the country that the Article 23 of its Constitution prevents the demographic change.
They pointed out that the province of Kirkuk has been exposed to a lot of infringements, especially from the Kurdish parties, stressing that this is a kind of plundering of the right of Iraqi citizens.
A member of the Political Bureau of the National Wisdom Movement Raad al-Haidari said that the law of slums will encourage thousands to surpass again for the purpose of ownership, pointing out that the law is promises made to the citizen with the upcoming elections.
He added “For decades, the Iraqi people have been suffering from the housing crisis and the problem is that Iraqi property belongs to the government.”
Al-Haidari wondered how long will the Iraqi citizen remain heartbroken to gain a 100-meter of land to dwell in ? Stressing that the housing crisis can be addressed through well studied plans taking into consideration that the dwellers of slums are suffering from the lack of services, which puts them in psychological and health crises, in addition to exploitation by election brokers.

Unemployment and poverty
The emergence of the problem of slums calls for it to be better to address unemployment and poverty in essence, which is one of the complex problems experienced by the Iraqi economy, and reflect the lack of infrastructure and the decline in economic performance.

Economists believe that unemployment has become a real crisis that does not accept delay and postponement , which requires the adoption of a comprehensive national program in order to mitigate the effects resulted from it and to address the structural imbalances suffered by the Iraqi economy, it is closest to the service economy (if we exclude the oil sector), as the contribution of services sector in the gross domestic product up to about (22%), while the contribution of the industrial sector in the gross domestic product up to (15%) while the contribution of the agricultural sector does not exceed (6.5%) noting that the contribution of the oil sector in the gross domestic product reaches 70%, which does not contribute to the components of the operation of the Iraqi labor force except by Low rate that it does not exceed in the best case (2%) of which means that (98%) of the strength of work are existed in sectors that its contribution don’t exceed ( 30%) in the gross domestic product . Therefore, the dominance of the marginal services sector in the components of the economic activity has negative effects on the composition of the Iraqi labor market, and the ability to the employment and productive use as 50% of those working in the services sector are really working in marginal services (poor productivity) and it is among the unemployment classifications in the labor market and even the income they receive, which is marginal income (below the poverty line).

The reality of Iraq which is rich in wealth and fortune calls for the Iraqi citizen to live a dignified life and enjoy the fruits of his country, without infringements on state property and the private sector, with the possibility of excluding some cases because of its special circumstances after study it but without generalization .

Shatha Khalil
Economic Studies Unit
Rawabet Center for Research and Strategic Studies