Iraq will suffer an enourmous budget deficit next year unless international donors pledge billions of dollars to meet reconstruction costs, a former deputy prime minister of Poland, Marek Belka, said.
Belka, who heads a new body charged with coordinating international rebuilding efforts in the war-ravaged country, warned on Sunday that revenue from oil exports will not nearly cover reconstruction costs.
“The reconstruction demands of Iraq are immense, far larger than can be covered by revenue from oil exports, so the financing gap is huge," Belka said at the inaugural meeting of Iraq's Council for International Coordination (CIC), AFP reported.
The US aims to boost oil production to 2 million barrels a day by the end of the year, generating revenue of as much as $14 billion.
Still, current output is only about 300,000 barrels a day, and increasing cases of industrial sabotage are hampering efforts.
The focus will, therefore, be on an international donor meeting scheduled for 23 October in Madrid.
Representatives of some 50 countries will meet to discuss reconstruction matters. Belka says he expects donations in the run to the summit.
“Most reconstruction needs will have to be financed from outside, from donors and the U.S. Congress,” Belka told AFP.
“I can't talk about any specific numbers, but we are talking about billions,” he added.
The International community will be needed to help Iraq fund reconstruction, for at least the coming two years, Belka said.