Official said city would get $100 million for jobs, social programs

Mosul is still awaiting millions of dollars that Iraqi government officials pledged to Iraq’s second biggest city as part of an initiative to aid three of the country’s problem areas, according to a U.S. economics adviser for Ninevah province.

Samir Sumaida’ie, Iraqi ambassador to the United States, told The Washington Times in April that the Iraqi government would give $100 million to Mosul, $100 million to Basra and $150 million to the Shula and Sadr City neighborhoods in Baghdad. The emergency funding aims to generate jobs and build up social programs to help stave off the insurgency.

"It’s very important to get people working and to wean them away from violence," he said. "This is consistent with government policy of linking economic development with improvement in security."

Rear Adm. Patrick Driscoll, spokesman for Multi-National Forces-Iraq, said in a news conference earlier this month that the $350 million would cover "the immediate needs of residents and provide essential services for areas formerly subjected to criminal activity, intimidation and neglect."

But Mike Hankey, the economics section chief for Ninevah’s Provincial Reconstruction Team, said he couldn’t predict the likelihood of receiving the money because those decisions are outside his responsibility. He hasn’t heard exactly when the city will get the money, and how much it’ll be. But he said he is optimistic and hopes it’ll come in the next few weeks.

Provincial Reconstruction Teams, or PRTs, were formed in 2005 to help provincial governments with their increased responsibilities.

Ninevah officials are blaming the Iraqi government for delays in receiving money already allocated for 2008, Hankey said. The holdup has kept officials from signing contracts from the beginning of this year.

Companies do not have easy access to cash or credit in Iraq, so government money makes up a large part of construction spending. Funding delays mean not only fewer services for Iraqi residents, but also fewer jobs, Hankey said.

Ninevah officials and PRT members are looking at ways to get money more quickly from the central government to contractors, with the goal of spending the money in the same calendar year for which it’s dedicated, he said.

"It’s a large, complicated bureaucratic process," Hankey said.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now