Iraq and the $12 Million Man
Sunday, April 24, 2005
(SNN Baghdad) One of the first moves to monitor Iraqi government activities has begun. The newly elected parliament has indicated that they may support a resolution to inform the public of the salaries of senior officials.
The newly elected parliament has indicated that they may support a resolution
It is not clear when the parliament will pass the resolution, which will be its first since the elections in January. The motion before the parliament calls for all government officials including the president, the prime minister and their deputies as well as other senior aides to declare their income before assuming office.
The idea of this resolution comes amidst rumors spreading through Iraq that the newly chosen President Talbani is being paid $12 Million a year, or about $33,000 a day. This has angered some that point out that there are about 1 million Iraqis supporting families of 7 on a salary of $100 a month. An Iraqi economist, who did not want his name be revealed, said if confirmed true it would make the gap between minimum and highest wages in Iraq the largest in the world.
Talbani may have to shoehorn his office and travel expenses into his monthly salary
While the ruling Shiaa United Alliance did not deny or confirm the reports of the President’s salary, a source close to the president indicated that Talbani may have to shoehorn his office and travel expenses into his monthly salary of $1 Million.
By comparison, Brittan’s Tony Blair makes only $335,000 a year (near what Talbani makes in 10 days) and is also subject to 30% income tax. No government official in the country, no matter how much he gets, is known to be paying taxes. Two years after the fall of former leader Saddam Hussein, the government has yet to introduce an effective tax system.
Suspicions of the size of the presidential salary were raised earlier in the month when Tony Blair offered to quit as Prime Minister of the UK if he was chosen to be President of Iraq.