By Shaymaa Adel
January 21, 2011
The Iraqi government has decided to spend nearly $75 million from the country's oil revenues to purchase armored limousines, one for each of the 325 members of parliament.
The government says the vehicles are needed because the parliamentarians are targets of attack by insurgents and 'terrorists.
The high salaries and perks senior Iraqi officials get are fueling anger in Iraq and there has been a storm of protest from local media.The benefits have turned them into a special class with body guards, armored vehicles and specially imported power generators to light, heat and cool their homes.
The roads leading to their houses are normally blocked and when driving in Baghdad their armored vehicles are part of a large convoy of cars carrying their contingents of bodyguards.
Lack of transparency is leading to wild guesses about the monthly salaries and other benefits senior officials get in the country.
The government which claims to be democratically elected has no transparency system in place where ordinary Iraqis can have access to the perks, salaries and benefits of senior officials.