Iraq’s Cabinet decided to cancel the ration card system and substitute it with a direct cash transfer estimated at 15 thousand Dinars per person.
Is it a rushed decision or the beginning of a new crisis that would add up to the economic and political crises in Iraq?
A number of lawmakers opposed the timing of this decision while others believe traders who benefit from cancelling the ration card have pressured to execute this decision. MPs assume cancelling ration cards will put citizens under the mercy of traders who tend to boost products’ prices especially at a time when Iraqi control institutions have not been proved efficient yet.
The parliamentary economic committee urged the government to control market prices before cancelling the ration card system. Fixing food prices and enabling the law of consumer and national products protection would prevent traders from manipulating price and quality of goods.
The ration card system was implemented by former President Saddam Hussein in response to the embargo and sanctions imposed on Iraq following his invasion of neighboring Kuwait.
The ration card used to include rice, flour, oil, sugar, vegetable and others. However, the Trade Ministry reduced the ration card in 2012 to five essential products namely flour, rise, sugar, oil and milk.
The Trade Ministry issued another decision last year to deprive families with high income from ration cards which now covers only poor and unfavorable families.