U.S. audit shows Iraq reconstruction lags

Aug. 2, 2006 at 7:52 AM
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BAGHDAD, Aug. 2 (UPI) -- A U.S. auditor says reconstruction of Iraq's infrastructure is seriously behind schedule and funding is all but depleted.

Stuart Bowen Jr., the U.S. special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, said in a report Tuesday just $2 billion of the $21 billion reconstruction fund remains as the Sept. 30 deadline for project assignment approaches, The Washington Post reported.

Bowen's report said more than 500 planned projects have not been started, although it said the United States has completed 82 percent of its planned projects.

The report noted how just 20 of a planned 140 primary healthcare centers have been opened and that Baghdad residents still only have about eight hours of electricity per day, which is less than they did before the war.

On the positive side, the report said U.S. funds have brought oil and electricity production above pre-war levels and have given 5 million more people access to sanitized water.

Bowen said security costs had played a major role in the shortcomings, but added mismanagement and poor planning also were factors.

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