US aid to Iraq most significant since the Marshall Plan
US Development officials in Iraq will seek in the near future to hire more local citizens to carry out the work of rebuilding the country, said US Agency for International Development(USAID) Administrator, Andrew Natsios.
"We need to employ as many Iraqis as possible in the reconstruction of their country," Natsios said June 22 during a brief question-and-answer period at the World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in Jordan. He said Iraq has a vast pool of educated and highly trained citizens and that he expected contractors funded by US aid money to look increasingly to the local population for skills and expertise.
Natsios spoke during a panel discussion on "Iraq: What Are the Next Steps?" and was responding to a question about the depth of the US commitment to helping build a stable Iraq following the defeat of the Saddam Hussein regime.
He said that before the Iraq war, the US Congress approved a supplemental budget of $2.4 million for reconstruction and humanitarian assistance in Iraq, with a portion of the money set aside in case of a large-scale "humanitarian emergency" related to the war.
Natsios said that since the war did not produce such a crisis, it might be possible for US officials to use some of the humanitarian assistance funds for reconstruction work. He noted that US funding for Iraq represents America's largest assistance effort in a single country since the Marshall Plan that helped transform Europe following World War II. "This is an enormous commitment," Natsios said. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)
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