BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq’s parliament speaker says the oil-rich nation has run out of money to pay for widows’ benefits, farm crops and other programs for the poor.
Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi told lawmakers Sunday that parliament would push the Iraqi government for answers on where the money has gone.
Irritated lawmakers demanded answers. Parliament members have each collected more than $100,000 so far this year in salaries and stipends, though they have only met four times since March amid the deadlock over forming a new government.
A Finance Ministry official said the estimated $1 billion social care budget has been emptied for 2010. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media.