Iraq Cabinet Says Citizens Can Swap Food Rations for Cash

Iraq’s government will allow citizens to choose whether to receive cash handouts instead of food rations, State Minister Ali Al-Dabbagh said.

The Cabinet has also taken steps to prevent speculation on food prices and to ensure the safe delivery of the cash handouts, Dabbagh, the official government spokesman, said in an e-mailed statement today.

The decision changes a measure adopted by the government on Nov. 7, when the Cabinet said it would cancel food rations to 6 million families and replace them with cash handouts. The decision stirred opposition in parliament, which called for an extraordinary session to discuss the matter tomorrow.

Everyone eligible for the program will be given 15,000 dinars ($12.88) a month, Dabbagh said on Nov. 7. The decision was intended to end corruption obstructing the distribution of the five food staples: flour; sugar, rice, vegetable oil and milk for babies, he said at the time.

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