It emerged today that our President gets paid a rather comfortable US$700,000 a year to do his job. I am not exactly sure whether this includes expenses or not, but regardless, the figure is absolutely shocking. What’s more, his two deputies get paid US$600,000 each, the Prime Minister US$360,000 and his own two deputies around half that.
These wages are obscene. They are made even more so when you consider that the average salary in Iraq is US$266 a month (The President is being paid 7 times as much in a day, as the average Iraqi is in a month). I am not entirely sure how these salaries can be justified, David Cameron is paid £142,500 a year, and his country actually has an economy, a functioning society….and electricity.
There was also talk recently that the Prime Minister would distribute plots of land to Iraq’s parliamentarians to reward them for their service during the last term. Maybe I am being naive, but I would have thought that their bloated wages were reward enough for their patriotic service. In fact, for most of them, an apple and a pat on the back would have done justice to their services.
I guess what it boils down to, is the same old Iraq. The same old story of patronage, and of privilege and exclusion that has been a feature of every Iraqi regime since the 1920’s. The oil money will flow, the pattern will continue and the Iraqi economy will be left with no productive sectors. Iraq will carry on its path of rentierism, where oil wealth is accumulated in the hands of the state, who then may chose to honour the citizens with gifts, like basic services, healthcare and education…or not.
Unless of course, God blesses us with someone that has the vision and strength to stop this vicious cycle that we haven’t managed to rectify in post-Saddam Iraq, despite the fact that our politicians should know better.