Expect protests in front of the Iraqi Central Bank tomorrow against the high price of the dollar
Tuesday – Rajab 2, 1444 AH – January 24, 2023 AD
Iraqis buy bread from an oven in Baghdad amid rising prices due to the dollar crisis (AFP)-
Baghdad: Fadel Al-Nashmi-
Personalities and platforms close to the “Sadr movement” led by Muqtada al-Sadr, and others affiliated with the “October Movement” protest a few days ago, are calling on citizens to stage mass demonstrations in front of the Central Bank building in central Baghdad, tomorrow; In protest of the significant increase in the exchange rates of the US dollar against the Iraqi dinar, and the resulting severe turmoil in the local markets, and the significant increase in the prices of most commodities and foodstuffs.
Most of the wholesalers in the Shorja market in Baghdad and in the rest of the markets complain about the “recession” that hit the markets, and the decline in buying and selling operations for weeks; What may be an added incentive to respond to going out and participating in demonstrations. It is not yet clear what the nature of the measures that the government of Prime Minister Muhammad al-Sudani will take towards the demonstrators is, but it is expected that it will deal with them with extreme caution, in order to prevent confrontations and injuries that would deepen the popular discontent and exacerbate it in the coming days.
It is also expected that the government authorities will resort to closing most of the roads leading to the Central Bank building. to prevent the arrival of demonstrators. Some parties say that the demonstrators will come from different governorates of the country, and that some of them will be transported by paid buses. Many of those who are indignant about the rise in exchange rates and foodstuffs blame the Prime Minister for choosing Ali Al-Alaq, who is close to the head of the “State of Law” coalition, Nuri al-Maliki, to occupy the position of governor of the Central Bank, after he held the position for many years between the years 2014-2020. His new appointment found additional pretexts to hasten the demonstrations.
And Al-Sudani warned in 2020, when he was a member of parliament, of a “coming revolution of the hungry,” in the event that the government of former Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi did not back down from reducing the exchange value of the Iraqi dinar to 1460 dinars per dollar, at a time when the exchange rate was exceeded during the era of his government. the barrier of 1,650 dinars to the dollar; This puts his government in great embarrassment to citizens in a country where a quarter of the population suffers from poverty, according to statistics from the Ministry of Planning.
And the circles of the Shiite “coordinating framework” forces talk about the new governor of the central bank, vowing to take “bold decisions taken by the government to restore control and balance of the currency price, after recent market speculations, including changing the management of the central bank, and supporting providing merchants with the official price in various commercial sectors.” And that the pledges of the new governor are to restore the exchange rate within a short period.
However, the Central Bank’s advisor, Ihsan Al-Shammari, tried on Sunday to distance the bank from responsibility for the high exchange rate, when he said in statements to the official news agency, that “the central bank has exhausted all steps related to monetary policy, and the issue now is related to state institutions concerned with dealing with merchants about operations.” Import and Export”.
For its part, the “Extension” movement, which emanates from the “October Movement” and has more than 10 parliamentary seats, criticized the government’s measures to confront the economic crisis and limit the rise in the exchange rate of the dollar against the local currency. And the movement said in a statement, “The people cannot continue to pay the price for the failure of the ruling parties to run the country, while continuing to underestimate their interests and violating the government’s constitutional duty to protect its economic and food security, and the lack of any real economic vision, and any seriousness in pulling the country out of the crisis.” The economy that afflicts him, which is represented by the depreciation of his national currency against the dollar, rather the opposite.
She added, “The government’s measures to address the crisis are still marginal measures, and they indicate disregard and underestimation of the interests of the people, ignoring addressing the real causes that led to this crisis, starting with the lack of control over the border crossings, through the release of the masters of corruption, and ending with the smuggling of currency to neighboring countries by Corruption parties and their commercial facades in the Iraqi market.