Iraq UN earmarks oil and electricity equipment for urgent delivery

Multi-million dollar contracts for heavy equipment and spare parts for Iraq’s oil and electricity sectors have been prioritized for immediate delivery after talks this month with United Nations agencies, the United States-run Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) and Iraqi representatives, the UN Office of the Iraq Programme (OIP) announced today. The contracts, chosen from the UN Oil-for-Food programme’s humanitarian pipeline are fully funded from pre-war oil sales and include items urgently needed for the rehabilitation of Iraq’s infrastructure, OIP said. Regular weekly meetings of UN and Iraqi experts and CPA advisers have so far produced a list of 1,419 contracts with items totalling $1.95 billion, including the oil sector ($1.038 billion); electricity ($794 million); water and sanitation ($54 million); youth and sports ($19.4 million); labour and social affairs ($11 million). Security Council Resolution 1483, adopted on 22 May, extended for another six months Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s authority to run the Oil-for-Food programme, under which Baghdad was allowed to use oil sales to buy the food and humanitarian supplies on which 60 per cent of Iraqis had depended as their sole source of sustenance. The extension allows Mr. Annan to move urgently needed items from the programme pipeline of fully funded contracts totalling some $10 billion. Resolution 1483 also expanded the menu of deliverable items from food, medicines, water and sanitation supplies to include goods and supplies deemed by all parties to have “relative utility” based on post-war assessments of immediate and longer term reconstruction needs. The dimensions of this month’s list, with more items and sectors to follow, indicates the importance given to immediate needs in the electricity and oil sectors, OIP said. The lists of contracts in each sector represent more than 70 per cent of the total approved and funded contracts contained in the Oil-for-Food pipeline for these sectors. Meanwhile, the UN panel set up to process claims and pay compensation for losses and damage suffered as a result of Iraq’s invasion and occupation of Kuwait in 1990-1991 today made available a further $190.4 million, bringing to nearly $17.8 billion the total amount of compensation allocated so far.More than $150 billion in claims have been filed with the UN Compensation Commission (UNCC), of which $46.3 billion have so far been approved. Money for the awards comes from the UN Compensation Fund, which received up to 30 per cent of the revenue generated by Iraqi oil exports under the UN’s Oil-for-Food programme.