Poverty rate rises to 12.5 percent in Kurdistan
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – A Ministry of Planning official stated on Saturday that the poverty rate in the Kurdistan Region had increased by more than nine percent.
Sirwan Muhammed, the Head of the Directorate of Statistics in the Ministry of Planning at the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), spoke to Kurdistan24 about the issue.
Muhammed revealed that the poverty rate in Kurdistan was 3.5 percent in 2014, and increased in 2016 to 12.5 percent.
According to Muhammed, the poverty scale had increased by nine percent in the past two years as the Kurdistan Region tackled an economic crisis.
Several factors contributed to the financial crisis including the Iraqi government slashing their budget share.
Moreover, oil prices dropped and the large influx of internally displaced persons (IDPs) to the Kurdistan Region played a role.
“There was a broad family-based survey in the Kurdistan Region and Iraq where the poverty rate was 4.7 percent, and the same poll in 2012 revealed a rate of 3.5 percent,” Muhammed added.
Regarding unemployment, the KRG official touched upon the statistics in the past two years.
“The lowest rate of unemployment before 2014 was in Erbil, then Sulaimani, then in Duhok,” he said.
“In 2015, the unemployment rate had decreased in the three governorates of the Kurdistan Region, but the rate was higher in Erbil,” he continued.
Muhammed stated that the World Bank had been supportive to organize the family-based surveys and indicate the poverty and unemployment rate in the Region.
According to a joint KRG and World Bank report released in February 2015 for the Kurdistan Region, economic growth contracted five percent, and the poverty rate doubled from 3.5 percent to 8.1 percent.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany