Iraqi Finance Minister Ali Allawi began a tour of the Gulf on Friday to raise funds and pay the salaries of his millions of officials after the collapse of oil prices.

Allawi met in Riyadh with Saudi finance, energy and foreign ministers and called for “immediate financial support to Iraq so that the government can keep its commitments to its employees,” state media in both countries said on Saturday.

After Riyadh, the minister, who is also temporarily the oil minister, has to go to “Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates to collect financial aid,” an Iraqi government official told . before Allawi’s departure.

“We need as much liquidity as possible to be able to pay the wages” of the eight million officials and pensioners that cost $ 4 billion each month, said another senior official.

Iraq has entered the worst economic crisis in its recent history for months, with a barrel of oil at its lowest level in an income economy based solely on black gold, a huge public sector and destitute public services.

The previous government even considered asking Kuwait to agree to a deadline for Baghdad, which pays reparations every month since the invasion of Saddam Hussein by its little neighbor in 1991, indicates the second person in charge.

“It is also very likely that Mustafá Al Kazimi made his first trip [oficial] in the Gulf in turn, “said the first official, referring to the new Iraqi prime minister, a personal friend of Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salmán.

Iraq has not yet approved its 2020 budget. The project provided for a barrel at $ 56, roughly twice as much as the current price.

In relation to mid-2019, the country’s oil revenues were divided by five, and only reached $ 1.4 billion per month.

Since Kazimi’s appointment, Washington has given Iraq four months to continue to source energy in neighboring Iran, without exposing itself to sanctions.

mjg-sbh / mdz / pc / jz