Iraqi Lawmaker criticizes Central Bank, Government over currency crisis

Iraqi Lawmaker criticizes Central Bank, Government over currency crisis

Shafaq News/ Raed al-Maliki, a member of Iraq's Legal Committee, announced on Tuesday efforts to hold the Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) and the government accountable for their "failure" to address the crisis of the depreciating Iraqi currency and the significant gap between the official exchange rate and the parallel market rate.

In a statement, al-Maliki highlighted the "continued inability of the Central Bank and the government to stabilize the dinar and reduce the disparity between the exchange rates, leading to substantial financial losses and exacerbating the suffering of citizens."

"The CBI's ongoing failure and the government has resulted in the squandering of trillions of dinars and the enrichment of corrupt individuals at the expense of the people," al-Maliki said. "Most goods are now priced based on the much higher parallel market rate rather than the official rate."

Al-Maliki outlined several key aspects of the failures of the government and the Central Bank. Firstly, he noted the government's "inability" to define Iraq's stance towards countries prohibited from using US dollars, such as Iran and Syria, and its "failure" to reach an agreement with the United States on this matter, unlike other nations that have managed to find solutions.

Secondly, al-Maliki pointed out the government's failure to control border crossings and informal trade. He emphasized the "lack of a unified customs policy and the existence of over 32 unofficial border crossings in the Kurdistan Region."

The third failure, according to al-Maliki, is the government's neglect of small traders. "With more than 400,000 small traders in Iraq relying on the parallel dollar market to avoid official procedures and taxes, their needs remain unaddressed."

Al-Maliki also criticized the Central Bank and the government for their inability to curb speculation and commissions within banks. "Banks are buying dollars at the official rate and selling them at higher prices without facing any legal consequences."

Finally, al-Maliki highlighted the issue of corruption related to providing dollars for travelers, stating that the "scheme has cost 600 billion dinars (about $458 million), with dollars being allocated for fictitious travel purposes without proper verification.

"These points represent the main reasons behind the ongoing currency crisis and the waste of resources," al-Maliki said, noting the involvement of Arab and foreign banks in the currency auction, which has increased their profits at Iraq's expense.

Al-Maliki vowed to use all constitutional, legal, and public means to confront this mismanagement and called on lawmakers from other blocs to support these efforts to protect the interests of the Iraqi people.

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