ARLINGTON, Va. — Per diem allowances for federal government employees working in Iraq are going up on Aug. 1.

The rate for meals and incidentals for those working in Baghdad will increase from $20 a day to $54. The lodging rate of $100 a day remains the same.

The meals and incidentals rate for elsewhere in Iraq will increase from $22 to $48 a day, with lodging remaining the same at $73 a day, according to State Department officials.

“The reason we’re changing the per diem rate in Iraq is because we haven’t reviewed them since the end of the Gulf War [in 1991], and they were outdated,” said Jan Burke, a policy analyst for the State Department’s Bureau of Administration. “We now have U.S. federal employees in Iraq, and we’re raising those rates.”

Federal employees already on the ground recently conducted surveys of restaurants and other eateries throughout Iraq and reported to State Department officials that the original rates did not adequately cover the cost of three meals a day, which typically run between $8 and $14 per meal, and sometimes higher.

Per diem allowances are not paid to deployed troops who are not on temporary duty assignments.

The rate increase is not retroactive or applicable to travel to the Middle Eastern nation before Aug. 1.

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