Iraq to conduct comprehensive census to ensure fair distribution of revenue

Al-Hindawi emphasized that the general population census is a crucial step in resolving disputes over the rights and entitlements of provinces in the general budget.
The headquarters of the Iraqi Ministry of Planning. (Photo: The Iraqi Ministry of Planning)
The headquarters of the Iraqi Ministry of Planning. (Photo: The Iraqi Ministry of Planning)

ERBIL (Kurdistan24) - Iraq’s Ministry of Planning has announced plans to conduct a comprehensive population and housing census on November 20, covering all provinces including the Kurdistan Region.

This initiative aims to provide an accurate survey of the population, ensuring a fair distribution of revenue.

"The population and housing census will provide an accurate survey of the actual population in all provinces, thus ensuring a fair distribution of revenue," said Abdul-Zahra al-Hindawi, spokesperson for the Ministry of Planning, in an exclusive interview with the Iraqi News Agency (INA).

Al-Hindawi emphasized that the general population census is a crucial step in resolving disputes over the rights and entitlements of provinces in the general budget.

"The results of the process will be a factor in the fair distribution of wealth among the provinces, which are allocated to them annually at the time of approval of the general budget," he stated.

He further explained that significant census data will provide sufficient clarity to ministries, enabling the government to formulate plans and distribute financial entitlements to all provinces accurately.

The Ministry of Planning has made extensive efforts to conduct the census in accordance with scientific and international standards, utilizing advanced electronic technology to ensure information accuracy above 90%.

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This comprehensive census is expected to play a pivotal role in shaping Iraq's future economic planning and resource allocation, contributing to equitable development across the country.

Despite the optimism, however, one continuous dispute in previous census attempts has been the Kurdish refusal to undergo such a tally while the issue of Kirkuk remains.

Kurdish parties have voiced concerns over the “demographic changes” that have taken place in Kirkuk province following the events of Oct. 16, 2017, in which Kurdish forces were ousted by Iranian-backed Shiite militias and the Iraqi army.

Since then, a significant number of Arab families have moved into the province, threatening the historically Kurdish-majority demographics of certain areas.

In addition, the 1970s saw the Ba'athist regime beginning a massive campaign to change the demography of the province, resettling Arabs and seizing lands owned by Kurds, who today often resort to using Ottoman-era titles and deeds to prove their case.

Ratified in 2005, Article 140 of the Iraqi Constitution stipulates that the status of the province is to be decided by conducting a census, followed by a referendum, and ensuing de-Arabization of the area.