The Economic Crisis and the Reality for Iraqis

 

With the Iraqi economy experiencing such a severe downturn, the effect can be seen all around – notably for basics in local markets. Feeling the pinch more than most are government employees, as the delay in the payment of their salaries is getting to the stage where many are beginning to worry about putting food on the table. As the crisis deepens, many are looking towards the nascent private sector, even though it is beset by problems created by the struggling oil and gas industry. Nevertheless, private companies remain an option for those looking to leave the public sector.

In the past few days Yalla has spoken with some government employees and discovered that they are either already searching for a new job, or are thinking of doing so. Some told us that they will wait for couple of weeks to see how the situation develops, but if things don’t improve (and few think they will), they will start looking for an alternative job to see them through to the end of this economic crisis; “I cannot pay my rent and I haven’t paid my electricity bills for 3 months now, I won’t be able to go on like this for ever” one of the employees told us.  Once oil prices return to pre-crash levels the government will return to solvency, and make good on unpaid wages, encouraging a return to the public sector.

There are many advantages in moving to the private sector. To start with ex-government employees will enjoy a monthly income which will cover living costs, and at the same time it will help them to broaden their horizons, develop their career and gain experience in other areas, thereby enriching their CVs and future prospects.

Secondly it will take pressure off of the government, which is struggling to deal with a bloated public sector – in such circumstance, the government will have the room to breathe and reform its economic strategy.

There might be good job opportunities for young people; instead of focusing on working for oil companies, they might wish to work for NGOs or humanitarian organisations; this way they can contribute to supporting the community during difficult times and circumstances, as every challenging situation requires courageous people to take up the mantle and make a difference. Instead of waiting for oil prices to go up, the young can grasp the initiative, be productive and find a new passion.