With nearly all U.S. funds for Iraq reconstruction committed toward projects, work continues to struggle toward completion, according to a report by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction. The quarterly report, dated April 30, says that more than 98% of the $21 billion in U.S. funds allocated for Iraq rebuilding have been obligated for projects, with more than 84% actually spent.
Most scheduled projects have been completed, according to the report, with most of the remaining ones expected to be done by the end of 2007. Certain sectors, however, are performing better than others.
Educational facilities and transportation projects remain largely on track. All but one of the 810 schools under the current plan have been completed. Ninety-six of 98 railroad projects are finished, while 237 of 285 road and bridge projects are finished. Thirty-nine road and bridge projects are under way and nine have not started.
Health-care projects continue to be a sore spot, with only 15 of 141 primary health-care centers complete and 126 ongoing. Slightly more than half of the 30 hospital jobs have been completed to date.
Power projects also are lagging amid regular blackouts in many parts of the country. Fewer than half of the 56 transmission projects have been finished and nearly a quarter of the 425 planned distribution projects remain unfinished.
In water infrastructure, 883 of 1,001 clean-water projects are done, while 55 of 67 sewer projects are finished.
Reconstruction efforts are proceeding despite continued setbacks caused by security concerns and corruption. According to the SIGIR report, the Iraq Commission on Public Integrity estimates that $5 billion is lost annually to corruption. The report notes that the Iraqi government is hampering efforts to combat corruption through a 1971 law reinstated by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The prime minister’s of-fice has ordered the commission not to refer cases to an investigative court that involves a minister or former minister without the prime minister’s consent. The U.S. Iraq Reconstruction Management Office claims that ministers have stopped investigations on 48 cases under the law, according to the SIGIR report.