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Iraqi Cabinet approves $64 billion budget

Iraq's Cabinet has signed off on a draft budget for 2009 totaling $64 billion. The budget has a deficit of about $20 billion that is to be covered by unspent funds from last year.

world Updated: Jan 27, 2009 01:18 IST

Iraq's Cabinet has signed off on a draft budget for 2009 totaling $64 billion.

The budget has a deficit of about $20 billion that is to be covered by unspent funds from last year.

Parliament must still approve the budget. Monday's Cabinet decision comes despite calls by Iraqi lawmakers for what they term a more realistic approach to falling oil prices.

Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh says the new budget figure is based on expectations that the price of oil would average about $50 a barrel.

Iraq has had to revise its original budget of $67 billion several times due to the fall in oil prices. Oil is the country's main source of income.

Oil was trading above $48 a barrel Monday, down from a high of $147 in mid-July.