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Iraq admits inability to pay electricity bill

PM blames political divisions for failure to pay GE Energy

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Iraqi PM Nuri Al Maliki tells tribal leaders that electricity production is threatened. Courtesy of AFP/Getty.
Iraqi PM Nuri Al Maliki tells tribal leaders that electricity production is threatened. Courtesy of AFP/Getty.

Iraq cannot afford to pay GE Energy for its services, despite signing a major deal with the firm to add nearly 9000MW of capacity over the next few years, the country’s prime minister has said.

"The electricity ministry cannot manage $2.4 billion to pay GE and we cannot force parliament to approve our project. As a consequence this process [electricity production] will stop," said Nuri Al Maliki last week, according to Reuters.

Al Maliki has blamed wrangling in the country’s parliament for a delay in ratifying a bond decision to pay for the revamping of Iraq’s power generation sector. Parliament is now in recess and will not reconvene until September 8.

The Iraqi prime minister indicated that he had met GE officials during a recent trip to the US, who had complained that they had not been paid for servies that had already been carried out.

The August issue of Utilities Middle East carries a country profile of the sector in Iraq, which is suffering from a neglected power infrastructure and dwindling water supplies.

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