The US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the World Bank are launching a Social Safety Net Program in Iraq. American tax dollars support USAID, and the US is a major contributor to the World Bank. Where is the safety net for Americans who will be footing the bill?
USAID has also awarded more than $78 million in grants to 10,300 Iraqi businesses – creating or restoring jobs for 37,000 Iraqis. Thirty-seven thousand American small business owners could have created a new business, sustain their current business and prevent bankruptcy with similar support.
Here is the Safety Net release from USAID:
May 28, 2009
Press Office: 202-712-4320
Public Information: 202-712-4810
BAGHDAD -The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and
Iraq’s Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MoLSA) today launched the Social
Safety Net program nationwide aimed at providing benefits to the most vulnerable
citizens of Iraq and facilitating their integration into the country’s economic
In 2005, the Government of Iraq passed legislation to establish a Social Safety
Net to complement the state-subsidized food rationing system, the largest social
security spending in the country. The new system is intended to help low-income
families, displaced workers, and unemployed people adjust to the ongoing
restructuring and reform efforts. The initiative is an essential step in
ensuring food availability, supplementing buying power, encouraging students to
stay in school, and preserving access to other social services.
The USAID-funded Economic Governance Program in partnership with MoLSA provided
technical support in the design of the Social Safety Net program, including
upgrading the information technology system, and leveraging grants from the
World Bank Trust Fund to expand coverage to 21 sites. A team of USAID advisors
and their Iraqi counterparts addressed key capacity building concerns by
enhancing the skills of civil service personnel in technical, operational and
management techniques essential to the implementation of the program. The World
Bank and USAID have invested more than $13 million for the nearly four-year
The Social Safety Net system has robust processes to detect and prevent
operational irregularities that allow for the delivery of benefits in a
standardized manner to all needy recipients. The system uses internal controls
that ensure accurate identification, registration, and verification of
recipients, and appropriate tracking of beneficiary records and payments. Such
mechanisms are aimed at running an effective, transparent and accountable
The success of the 2008 pilot in Baghdad paved the way for a Memorandum of
Understanding between MoLSA and USAID to expand the program nationwide. Today,
nearly 673,000 people, or 2.4 percent of the population of Iraq, are receiving
benefits through the Social Safety Net program. The program is expected to cover
an estimated one million beneficiaries.
Since 2003, USAID has invested more than $6 billion on programs designed to
stabilize communities; foster economic and agricultural growth; and build the
capacity of the national, local, and provincial governments to respond to the
needs of the Iraqi people.