Revolutionary Iraq 1968-1973
The Arab Ba'th Socialist Party is a socialist revolutionary Party which considers socialism imperative for the liberation, union and resurgence of the Arab Nation. The Party seeks to propagate socialist values and ideology and apply them in practice in its struggle, and in every respect in accordance with the requirements of each phase wherever possible in any part of the Arab World and within a unionist horizon. For an integrated Arab socialist system can only be applied within the context of Arab unity i.e. in a united Arab state.
Thus, Ba'th-led revolution in any single Arab country and the political regime controlled by the Party are in essence and aims socialist, unionist and democratic. The Party must apply a programme of socialist transformation in accordance with the requirement of the phase in that area. This of course applies to the Party in Iraq. We must review the circumstances of Iraq concerning socialist transformation.
The political situation in Iraq differs from that in other Arab and Third World countries in many respects. This is so, apart from the special features and peculiarities affected by the monarchy which will be dealt with later on. Before the Revolution of July 17th 1968, three changes of regime took place on July 14th 1958, February 8th 1963 and November 18th 1963. Each of these changes had its positive and negative effects on socialist transformation which further complicated an already complex matter.
During the monarchy, semifeudal production relationships prevailed in the countryside. A small capitalist sector existed in agriculture and some limited areas in Iraq. Bourgeoisie and feudal interests intermixed. The bourgeoisie owned the land and practiced usury with peasants while some feudal lords owned industrial and commercial projects. Despite the extensive land ownership of the feudal lords and the bourgeoisie, the State was the biggest land owner. The State also owned facilities, production and essential services such as electricity, railways, a significant portion of communications and a part of the oil industry. After 1953, the State became, without doubt, the biggest capitalist in the country and began building many comparatively large factories such as textiles, sugar, cement, etc.. The capitalist sector in industry was comparatively small and weak. The bulk of it was small or middle class. Commerce was the best field for the Iraqi bourgeoisie. Internal and foreign trade prospered in the last few years of the monarchy. The period was characterized by the spread of consumerist tendencies, unbalanced increases in the incomes of employees, professionals and other, as a result of increased oil incomes and expanded economic activity spurred by large-scale projec ts under the auspices of the Development Council in particular. The contracting sector expanded and was one of the most corrupt profit-spinning sectors. Legal and illegal profits were made under the corrupt political and social system prevalent at that time.
After the July 14th 1958 Revolution, Law No. 30 on agricultural reform was issued which limited the amount of land which could be feudally owned. Small and middle-size ownerships increased greatly. But because of the reformist rather than the revolutionary nature of the law and the many loopholes compensation was guaranteed as was the choice of land for distribution among relatives and favourites. The bureaucratic and rightist nature of the Qassem and Aref regimes compelled them to introduce modifications in the interests of the feudalists. Apalling conditions prevailed in the countryside in Iraq.
The feudal influence, though theoretically and legislatively destroyed, was still very strong on the eve of the July 17th Revolution. It gained in strength because of the misapplication of the law and the run-down of the agricultural sector. The small holdings sector created by the law of agricultural reform was weak and unproductive. Farmers lacked capital, seeds, machinery and market expertise. Arable land decreased because of increased salinity and government negligence. The farmers' inability was compounded by the increase in the number and influence of usurers. New exploitative relationships appeared as a result of the leasing of lands, which the farmers, beneficiaries of the land reform, could not work on, to the bourgeoisie and feudist classes. In the North, old patterns of ownership and feudal relationships remained intact because of armed conflict.
The number of landless peasants increased in the countryside as did the exodus to the cities. Lower agricultural productivity made Iraq, for many years after the revolution of July 14th 1958, an importer of agricultural produce after it had been an exporter or at least self sufficient. This was not the result of population growth or increased consumption.
In the industrial field, the July 14th revolution brought about many significant progressive developments. The agreement of economic and technical cooperation concluded with the Soviet Union in 1959 led to the creation of industries which would establish decisively the State's sway over this vital sector and build a new industrial infrastructure in the country. At the same time, the government provided wide opportunities for the growth of the private sector in industry through loans, protection and other facilities. But the nature of the two bureaucratic regimes of Qassem and Aref was counterproductive. The implementation of many projects in which large amounts of capital had been invested was delayed. By the time some projects were finally completed, they were out of date technologically. Maladministration made many projects uneconomic. Measures to prepare the required personnel for industry. such as technical schools and the sending of student missions abroad to acquire skills, were not taken, which further increased the economic difficulties of these industries.
In 1964, the Aref regime nationalized many large and middle - sized factories belonging to the private sector. This increased the dominance of the public sector in industry and confined the private sector to small and middle-sized industries and to some mixed public-private industries. Such a progressive step would have produced better results had it not been for the impetuous way in which it was taken and the insincerity of its motivations. The nationalized industries came directly and indirectly under the mismanagamant and corrupt manipulation of the rightist bureaucrats and bourgeoisie class. Thus, the progressive step was emptied of its progressive content. The industrial public sector became a burden on the state, a drain on the budget instead of a source of income and hard currency.
The July 14th 1958 Revolution did not impose any essential changes on internal and external trade which remained largely in the lands of the bourgeoisie. Indeed, the Revolution made the first step towards establishing a public sector in internal trade by the establishment of the governmental Transactions Department. Nationalization decrees in 1964 enlarged further the trade public sector. But the general phenomena of corruption prevalent in the industrial and agricultural sectors were also apparent in commerce. The State did not reap any benefit. Only some basic consumer goods were provided for the people at reasonable prices.
Perhaps the most important results of the decrees of 1964 were those concerning foreign and Iraqi private banks and the insurance companies. This sector, despite the prevalent corruption, maintained a degree of efficiency under state control.
It should be noted, however, when evaluating the nationalization measures that the public sector had been itself the highest shareholder in the factories and corporations that were nationalized. This may indicate that the nationalization was propagandistic in nature, and may explain also why it was later emptied of its progressive content. It is clear therefore that the Revolution of July 17th 1968 had to face three tasks in the field of socialist transformation:
l) Rectification of the prevalent corrupt conditions in agriculture, industry, services and commerce.
2) To achieve speedy and comprehensive growth.
3) To take preparatory measures to secure the transition into socialism. It is natural that these aspects should interweave in the interests of achieving economic independence.
Reform requires large scale administrative and organizational power. It also requires changes in government structure and methods of work and legislation. There is a need also to emphasize national and progressive cultural values. Because of the relative scarcity of national cadres, in particular, socialist and revolutionary cadres, for such tasks, it was necessary to depend on the available national cadres without emphasizing their class identity and ideological background.
At the same time, socialist transformation relies on socialist culture and on socialist revolutionary cadres to confront the bourgeoisie and the remnants of feudalism. That is why it is no easy task to fulfill the process in its three aforementioned aspects. It involves many-sided activity, great flexibility of means, no loss of equilibrium, a meticulous attention to the circumstances, quick resolution of the contradictions that arise and a singleness of purpose that would lead in the end to the realization of socialism.
However, the shortcomings in ideological activity and the weakness of socialist education among the circles concerned made this task more difficult and led the Party and government machinery into many errors. A trial and error method was often followed. While it is true that experimenting is necessary, it is true that it needs clear theoretical pointers to make it meaningful and purposeful. This was lacking in the past phase. Many things were done without proper theoretical framework and scientific research. They were not accompanied by revolutionary re-evaluation, at a distance from subjective outlooks and narrow interests. It has been therefore very difficult to measure real success or failure. Even inability to draw accurate conclusions greatly affects the capacity of the Party and the Revolution to measure the rate of progress in this sphere or that.
Among the unhealthy phenomena which deserve special attention is that of reliance on "accumulated achievements". In the first days of the Revolution there was an urgent need for projects to employ the people and give them a feeling of confidence in the Revolution.
Time and temper did not allow for long-range efforts. Quick results with direct moral and material impact on the masses were wanted. But to continue in this way trying to win over the masses with semiplanned projects, to deceive oneself that this is the socialist way is mistaken and can lead to chaos not only in the political, economic and development fields but also in the fields of thought and social development. For this would impede the development plan and work against the completion of the necessary steps in the preparation for the application of socialism.
Accumulation of achievements in this sense is not only born out of a weak socialist culture and ideological activity but also out of complacency by some Party members and organizations who try to take the easy way out, shying away from hard work with the masses and long term effort. Even self-seeking trends amongst the unions, who fought only for their own sectional gains without enough attention to the interest of society as a whole, hindered the course of socialist transformation.
In addition to this there has been some later confusing of socialist tenets and State capitalism, the democratic content of socialism which requires dialectical commitment to centralism, and other chaotic thoughts and practices. Centralism with a democratic content must be differentiated from the centralism of state capitalism which was rejected by the Arab Ba'th Socialist Party as contrary to the interests and ideals of the Revolution.
The Party's awareness of the risks of deviation towards state capitalism, and its continuous education against such a deviation, compels it on assumption of power to exert special effort towards complementary socialist democratic transformation. State capitalism is a distorted image of socialism. It negates or at least fakes democratic relations in production, freezes the role of the working class and kills its vitality. It makes the bureaucrats, the masters and overlords of production who impose upon the working classes and lower strata of employees, a new dictatorship not very different from that of the bourgeoisie class and its exploitation. It has a distorted view of socialism as a mere economic activity unrelated to the other aspects of the life of Society.
Justifications of centralism with democratic content are one thing and the centralism of the capitalism of the State are another. They are contradictory and run counter to each other. When the working class, its organizations and some officials of the various production sectors are not sufficiently aware of this, it is the responsibility of the Party to raise their cultural, technical, organizational and political standards in order to protect the interests of all in Arab society. It is our responsibility to meet any such lack of awareness and not allow it to obstruct the development of the working class by sliding into State capitalism.
Lack of awareness and experience is not helped by preventing the working class from taking part in the actual programming and control of development, thus depriving them of ever acquiring the necessary experience and knowledge regarding the problems involved.
1 - Agricultural Reform:
One of the main tasks of the Revolution was make radical agricultural reform very early on. was necessary to effect changes in the reform machinery and put it under the supervision of the Party. It was also necessary to modify radically the old agricultural reform law of 1958. The modifications were made in 1969 and cancelled compensation for the feudal landlords and their so-called land option for the areas left to them under the old law. The land was distributed free to the peasants.
This stemmed from an outlook which does not recognize feudalists' ownership of land or any other privileges over the landless peasants. The Revolution issued another new law for agricultural reform, No. 117 of 1970, which reduced the maximum area of land ownership aligning it more closely with the conditions and requirements of agricultural production and afforded protection of the poor peasants' rights. Expropriation and redistribution of land were carried out all over the country, except for a few areas in the North where abnormal circumstances prevail.
The Revolution of July 17th achieved the great mission which should have been realized by the July 14th revolution. Feudalism and feudal relationships in the Iraqi countryside were obliterated. Legal status of land ownership under the Revolution was confined to small and medium size holdings.
Production relationships underwent a significant change. Arable land in Iraq is equal to 23 million donums. State farms occupy 390 thousand donums, collective farms 64 thousand donums, and cooperative farms 11 million donums. The State owns a further 2 million donums which have been contracted out to farmers collectively. Private and other forms of land ownership hold 8,400,000 donums.
Such development is of significance. The back of feudalism in Iraq has been broken. No material or legal supports for it have remained outside some tribal and backward social links which are on the decline. Except for the North, there is no feudal influence in the country. Democratic practices in the countryside have progressed and developed with the participation of farmers' leagues in the political, economic and social life of the country.
New production relations and traditions are replacing the old ones. It must be added, however, that in spite of all this progress in the countryside the model is still not socialist. New measures must be taken to increase the socialist sector (state farms, collective, and cooperative farms) to render it dominant and better in all respects. Efforts must be redoubled to spread socialist culture among the farmers.
There remains the fact that the arable land is still not enough for the farmers. In spite of the new agricultural reform law and the reduction of' the maximum ownership, a large number of farmers are still landless and obliged to labour for wages with the small or medium-size owners, or migrate to cities. This number will increase with the natural population increase and the spread of farm mechanization. Larger numbers of landless will find themselves working for wages on the land or going to cities. Exploitative relationships will develop and new kinds of contradictions will appear. The division of land into ever smaller pieces, in spite of its democratic and progressive purport, will have negative results on general development and productivity. We have seen how the old agricultural reform law did not lead to the development of agricultural production, but on the contrary led to its decline.
The Revolution has made important progress along the way to establishing cooperatives, collective and state farms. Still this sector has not yet become the leader of agricultural production. We can see that the past phase succeeded in preparing the Iraqi countryside, where forty percent of the population live, for socialism. During the next five years, it is inevitable that the development of state farms first, the collectives and finally cooperative farms will lead agricultural production in no uncertain fashion.
2 - Industry
The Revolution was not faced with the issue of nationalizing major industrial schemes in the course of social transformation. These were nationalized in 1964 as mentioned earlier. The public sector in industry was predominant.
The Party faced other tasks in this sphere of socialist transformation:
a) Completion of unfinished industrial projects which had been delayed for years.
b) Implementation of contracts for new industries which had been signed but for whose implementation no serious steps had been taken.
c) Expansion of existing factories and boosting of their output capacity.
d) Introduction of new industrial fields.
e) Building a new administrative and organizational infrastructure commensurate with the size and role of this sector and development of its administrative and technical aspects.
f) Provision of Party control and guidance together with guarantees of working class participation in solving the problems of production.
g) Encouragement of national capital to build new small and medium sized industrial projects and the establishment of mixed projects so that the expertise of the bourgeoisie may serve national growth and development.
During the past years, great efforts have been made in all of the abovementioned directions. In spite of all the positive results that have been realized, the industrial sector is still suffering from the basic problems prevalent in developing countries which delay the transition to socialism. This is in a society where the problem of public ownership of industry has been solved and socialist transformation should have been facilitated. Some of the problems of our industry lie in former chaotic planning which did not take into consideration the provision of basic raw materials for such industries to make them economic. Many industries were forced to close down because of the lack of materials locally or to cut-back production because of inabilility to compete with similar better and lower-priced foreign products. Such industries have become a burden on the state instead of a source of income. Another problem was that of trained cadres of engineers, technicians, skilled labour and administrators for industries. The result was underproduction, higher costs and low quality products. The projects needed budgetary help from the state. The industrial infrastructure that has been developed may in the future help socialist transformation. But most of the measures taken so far resemble state capitalism rather than socialism. Participation by the working class and other employees in this sector, in the fields of planning and execution, is still limited and lacking in political, economic and technical consciousness. Industrial production at present is dominated by officials among whom the ratio of Party members and socialists is not high enough. We must also confess that some Party members working in this field, who are supposed to be the leaders of socialist transformation, are not paying enough attention to socialist culture and practices. They have at times come under the influence of bureaucratic and rightist trends because of contamination by the old pre-Revolution apparatus. They have not succeeded in building relationships based on centralism and democracy with workers and employees to the required extent.
Government measures to control industry and expand the industrial infrastructure are important and progressive. But they cannot, of necessity, be socialist without the working class efficiently occupying effective, worthwhile positions of leadership. Socialist education on a wider scale is needed. Re-education and training of the untrained on all levels is also required in accordance with a preconceived plan. The industrial infrastructure must be capable of leadership and better production both qualitatively and quantitatively. We must remember that in all world experiments of socialist transformation, the field of industry was always the first and easiest field for practical application.
In all cases, a balance must be struck between our principles and goals and the practical requirements for achieving these goals. Working class participation must be preceded by the adequate political, education administrative and technical training of all the required cadres. We must benefit from the experience of the other socialist countries in redefining the term "working class" to encompass new social segments while being very careful to keep the basic qualities of the class and its revolutionary nature.
Large commercial institutions were nationalized in 1964. The Revolution faced other tasks which were mostly difficult and interrelated. The commercial sector, under government control, was the most corrupt and rotten of all sectors. Parasites were cosily ensconced making large illegal profits by all means of connivance and trickery.
The revolution had to guarantee through this sector the continued provision of basic materials, while struggling to extend its effective control over foreign and internal trade and subject them to planning. This was not easy because of the lack of trained Party members and the corrupted national personnel.
During the past years many reforms in this field were instituted. Corrupt managers were removed and replaced by Party and other incorruptible managers. Parasitic elements were wiped out particularly in the fields of import licensing and public sector agencies. The public sector's share of foreign trade rose from 43% to 82%, large individual importers were broken into small and medium-sized ones, thus limiting the influence of big merchants and benefiting increasing numbers of smaller merchants. In the field of internal trade, the public sector's activity dealing directly or through middlemen with the public increased. The public sector entered new fields of internal trade and significant weight.
In the last few years, many measures have been taken to align the conditions of foreign trade with the requirements of economic independence and development.
However, during the past years, real war both direct and indirect took place between the Party and the Revolution on the one hand and the commercial bourgeoisie and rightist bureaucracy on the other. The commercial bourgeoisie class is distinguished by intelligence and cunning together with an ability to play tricks. It is also the class most committed to the capitalist market and imperialist interests. The rightist bureaucracy meets with the small and middle bourgeoisie class in many interests and practices making an unwritten alliance against the progressive and socialist measures of the Revolution. This is particularly dangerous when the government machine and the economy is saturated with the rightist bureaucracy. The danger is even greater when the revolutionary cadre is small. The Revolution had at times to strike mercilessly, and at other times to resort to flexibility, in dealing with these two classes.
The real field of struggle with these two classes remains in the realm of efficiency. The State now has decisive control in political, legislative, material and security matters over all sectors. It can strike a destructive element and carry through any necessary legislation. But violence and legislation alone cannot solve the problem even when they are necessary. For consumption is a daily affair which can never be closed down or postponed. Reserves of materials must be built up. When the State machine cannot provide the requirements, the Revolution will be balanced and isolated. That is why the question of the qualified cadre focusses attention. For without such a revolutionary, sincere and enthusiastic cadre, the task of socialist transformation becomes impossible.
Admittedly many errors in the trade sector have hurt the Party and the Revolution and contributed to the delay in socialist transformation. Comrade, the Regional Secretary General of the Party referred to this in his speech on the fifth anniversary of the Revolution by saying: "It is necessary to mention errors in the field of internal and external trade which have caused hardships to citizens and been detrimental to some programmes of growth. The country has seen cases of shortages or chaos in the provision of basic and secondary consumer needs. A situation such as this opened the door for reactionary and regressive forces to belittle the Revolution and its achievements and socialism."
In fact, errors and crises in this field were most harmful to the Revolution because of their effect on its direct relations with the masses. The Party had warned against such situations instructing its members in this field to redouble their efforts and enthusiasm in order to develop their institutions and facilitate the transition to socialism. We must confess, however, that the leading Party members in charge of such a mission did not exert the required effort and enthusiasm. They behaved in fact more like backward bureaucratic elements thus adding insult to injury.
In addition to this, we must not neglect the effect of increased and unexpected state revenues which have caused a bottleneck in the movement of trade. Increased revenues required sudden increases in economic activity entailing a full review of the volumes of import. Such import volumes cannot be dealt with through short notice formulas. Likewise sudden increases in development budgets cause difficulties in absorption and indicate coordination.
4 - Planning and Growth:
Planning occupies a central position of importance in the building and development of the national economy and all of its branches in accordance with present and future needs. Without planning, preludes to socialism cannot be made and national progressive economy cannot be developed. This is particularly so in developing countries where production institutions are not particularly strong and viable. We have already shown the bad effects of chaotic planning which were inherited by the Revolution.
Therefore, it is absolutely necessary for the Revolution to build advanced planning machinary which are socialist in orientation, to advance the cause of planning consciousness in Party and government and to make responsibilities stick so that they are never rejected except with very real political or economic justification. Any emergency change in plans must be confined to the smallest area possible.
Work in the field of planning by the Revolution was characterized in the first phase by study and exploration in order to get acquainted with the economic and planning conditions, rectify whatever possible and develop the human and technical resources of planning. It was necessary to get the required information and to prepare the tools for planning.
The Revolution was able to make great progress in this field. It can be said now that for the first time in Iraq, there are planning mechanisims of fairly high quality and efficiency. What has been achieved, however, still fails short of the pressing needs of the country. The reason for this lies mainly in the national human resources in this field and the lack of a united planning philosophy among those who work in this field . Many elements are still oscillating between bourgeoisie, socialist and state capitalist trends and are unable to reach a single crystallized view. The dangers are of course immense. We may not see the harmful results of such a situation now in the phase of wide development, but we shall certainly meet with the difficulties when the Revolution enters finally and comprehensively the phase of applying socialism. We shall see then which of the projects already carried out facilitate the task and which stand in its way. It is necessary therefore to deepen the socialist unionist culture among planning workers by acquainting them with the experiences of socialist countries whose situation is similar to ours.
Another reason for the slow progress in the field of planning was the lack of coordination among the various sectors because of narrow attitudes as opposed to the adoption of a higher more comprehensive view in order to define the limits and requirements.
The leadership of the Party and the Revolution has paid special and direct attention to planning. It has supervised personally during the past years the preparation of the general plan and its follow-up. The question of planning has entered now a new important phase in realizing growth and the preparation occupies a control position of great importance. In our country and similar countries, it often comes directly after political and economic independence and it requires urgent attention. In our country, it gains an added importance because of the immense oil wealth in Iraq and the neighbouring areas. For in such areas, developmant and growth play a vital role in the struggle between the progressive and reactionary regimes. Development becomes a case in point and a test for the regime.
Iraq cannot ignore attempts to show that widespread progress comes only through ties with imperialism and the pursuit of capitalist methods. We cannot neglect the fact that if such attempts are not aimed originally at Iraq, their outcome will affect Iraq and the Party's revolutionary principles and socialist changes. The struggle therefore between the progressive course and the reactionary must be resolved in the interest of socialism and counterimperialism. The socialist way must be proven right. This requires, in addition to socialist changes, a large scale growth in all aspects of life. It requires the development of all modern conveniences and raising the standard of living continuously for the masses by following flexible and advanced methods to face the challenge.
The achievements of the Revolution in the field of development and growth during the few past years can be summed up as follows:
Three main considerations in formulating the struggle of national development were taken: First: Objective study and analysis of the inherited Iraqi economy to discover the gaps, define the resources and find out the potential.
Second: To build a strong developed economy that would increase continually the level of incomes and at the same time bridge the income gaps, the social classes and the various districts of Iraq. Third: Liberation of the Iraqi economy from all vestiges of foreign domination.
These general lines of strategy were translated into the following programme:
l - Endeavour to develop the forces of production and productivity and the use of all the resources of modern technology to build the national economy.
2 - Great expansion in human and material investment to ensure speedy and balanced development in economic and cultural fields.
3 - Coordination between investment and savings with emphasis on national savings in order to develop self-propensity for growth.
4 - Coordinating the policy of consumption with the requirements of growth so as to realize a surplus in national savings and fruitful investment in accordance with the aim of development, that is raising the standard of living.
5 - Expanding the export infrastructure and diversification of exports, ensuring higher productivity, better marketing and a definition of the aims of production and imports in the interest of a higher standard of living for the masses, a higher per capita income and the provision of the requirements of production for all productive units.
6 - Increasing the awareness of the masses and encouraging them to participate in the growth effort.
In order for the Revolution to translate its strategy of growth into concrete projects and programmes, it had to take the following steps:
1 - Implementation of the scientific method in planning by making comprehensive studies in place of the segmented and instant economic.
2 - Preparation of a comprehensive plan for economic and social growth involving a detailed programme of production, income, labour, consumption, savings and foreign trade with all requisite investments and resources.
3 - Participation of all economic sectors in planning and discussions with experts.
4 - Strengthening the executive structure in the public and private sectors.
5 - Strengthening and development of the statistics and planning machinery.
6 - A realistic and accurately calculated policy of loans.
The preliminary results of these policies proved the correctness of our revolutionary methods. The Iraqi economy grew in the years after the Revolution at a higher rate than throughout the pre-revolution years.
In 1969, the Iraqi national income (at current prices) was nearly 869 million Iraqi Dinars. This rose to I.D. 1218 million in 1972. It is expected to reach I.D. 2550 million in 1974 by the end of the Plan. This means an increase of I.D. 1654 million between 1969-1974 over and above the income during the first years of the Revolution, which means a 185% increase and an annual rate of growth of 24%. This rate of growth is the highest the modern Iraqi economy has witnessed.
Per capita income in Iraq rose from ID 100 in 1969 to ID 120 in 1972. It is expected to reach ID 230 by 1974 which means an annual rate of increase of 20% . This is quite unprecedented for Iraq.
The rapid economic development in our country did not come as a result of an increase in oil income only, but also from growth in other sectors of the economy.
The agricultural sector's income increased from ID 202 million in the first year of the Revolution to ID 302 million in 1972 at an annual rate of growth of 15.3% between 1969 and 1972. In spite of a decrease by ID 50 million in 1973 because of uncontrollable climatic conditions, the income is expected to rise to ID 350 million in 1974.
Income from converted industries increased from ID 103 million in 1969 to ID 154 million in 1972. It is expected to reach ID 205 million in 1974 which means an annual rate of growth of 14% between 1969 and 1974.
Estimates of employment show an increase from 2.5 million in 1969 to 2.9 million in 1972. The figure is expected to reach 3.2 million in 1974.
With the exception of the agricultural sector, total wages and salaries in 1969 were ID 321 million. They are expected to total ID 510 million by 1974.
Investment in the 1970-1974 Development Plan totals ID 1560 million, ID 953 million of which were invested in the central government sector, ID 322 million in self financed production institutions of the public sector and ID 285 million was contributed by the private sector. This total investment is twice as much as the investment in the five-year plan of 1965-1969 and twice the total of the public sector's investments.
5 - Public Services.
Provision of the best and widest possible range of public amenities for the Iraqi people is born of two considerations: one is purely economic relating to productivity while the other relates to the social theme of the Arab Ba'th Socialist Party which enjoins provision of the masses with the best available services.
Public amenities in our country also occupy a central point of importance. It is often the standard by which a government is judged by the populace. In our country, aside from the psychological factor, almost the whole burden of public services is laid upon the shoulders of the government. This is in part also, because of the weakness of the bourgeois class as an institution, consequently the weakness of private service concerns. The government therefore has to provide the whole range of public utilities such as health, education, electricity, public transport and others, regardless of the political or class identity of the government. It is more natural that these utilities should be provided by a socialist government and that the government should be expected to do so by the population.
The services sector on the other hand can easily become a monstrous apparatus siphoning off public money to no real use. Two points have therefore to be taken into consideration: first, close association between services and their economic and social implications. The second point is that services must not be at all considered a grant, and horizontal and vertical expansion must be closely related to the plans of socialist transformation.
The fixing of the rate to be exacted by the government for services must also be related to the needs of the classes involved. Health services for instance are more needed by the lower-income classes. The rates should therefore be commensurate with their incomes.
The wide difference between the people of the country-side and the population in cities must also be taken into consideration. Otherwise, peasants will flock to the cities in search of the good life and agricultural activity will lag. The improvement of public transport plays a big role in solving this problem.
Public services, in size and quality, have made a large stride forward under the Revolution. The need, however, is still great and efforts must be redoubled, so that the aim of the Party in building a new society can be achieved.
In addition to paying the greatest attention to the needs of the lower income groups throughout the country in the field of health services the Revolution has particularly emphasized preventive medicine in future planning.
Spending on health services increased by 40% in 1973 as compared to 1968. The number of hospital beds was increased by 8000 to 20,3222 in 1973. The distribution of the increase was equitable. In 1968, there was a medical doctor for every 4,200 citizens. This rate has been improved considerably to l:3,200 in 1972. Medical orderlies increased by 57.8% between 1968 and 1972. Improvement was not only in volume but also in quality and the uniform distribution of services.
The law of health insurance in the countryside insured 70% of the population of Iraq. 400 doctors are employed in the countryside using the most up-to-date equipment.
In education, spending reached ID 59 million in 1970 against ID 49 million in 1967. In 1967, there were 990 thousand school children in elementary schools. The figure jumped to :,110,000 in 1970. In the same period the number of students engaged in higher education increased from 30 thousand to 38 thousand. Students engaged in vocational training increased from 10 thousand in 1967 to 12 thousand in 1972. The increase in vocational training, however, was not up to requirements.
The pre-Revolution state of drinking water in the countryside was miserable. 96% of the population in the countryside were deprived of potable water. Only 1.2% of the villages of Iraq were equipped with proper facilities for drinking water. To achieve its long-term aims the Revolution had to draw up an appropriate plan. The first phase ended in 1973; the second followed immediately at the beginning of 1974 and will take two years. ID 80 million will be spent to provide Iraq's villages with clean drinking water facilities. The execution of the plan will take many years.
In the middle term, ID 28 million have been allocated to provision of water for cities and large villages. Daily production of drinking water has increased from 175 million gallons in 1968 to 260 million gallons now. It is noteworthy however, that the present policies, middle and long range will only cover 90% of the needs of cities and towns and only 5% of the needs of villages.
Likewise in the, field of electricity supply the Revolution inherited a very backward state of affairs. ID 16 million were allocated for the 1970-74 plan of which ID 7 million were spent in 1970-72 which demonstrates a good rate of execution. Studies are still underway to bring electricity to the whole of Iraq.
In the field of housing, public spending before the Revolution tapered off to zero in 1966-67. The Revolution has revised the programme by spending ID 10 million during the existing development plan in addition to about ID 16 million on other housing programmes such as the development of the North, industrial housing, Bedewin settlement and border villages. Such projects are expected to be completed within the next three years. A long range housing plan aims at building complete housing facilities in the cities and the countryside in Iraq. The Revolution aims at incentive housing in the countryside that would help change the existing tribal economy by giving priority to collectives, cooperatives and state farms, to encourage socialist relations of production. Short and middle term plans of housing are only to meet the immediate needs. But a long range plan must be developed in full coordination with all sectors.
The Revolution was careful to tap the touristic resources of the country. A long range plan for tourism is being drawn up. Income from tourism increased by 75% in 1971 over 1967. This rate of increase had been only 29% in 1967 over 1963. ID 5 million will be spent on the development of tourism under the plan. Such an investment will encourage touristic institutions to participate more in social and economic development.
One cannot talk about development in tourism as separate from the social and economic general development of the country. Without all other developments, the development of tourism remains confined to buildings.