Iraq official says war hurts economy

Iraq’s finance minister says plunging oil prices and soaring costs from the country’s war against the Islamic State group is hurting the country’s economy.

Speaking with The Associated Press on Wednesday, Finance Minister Hoshyar Zebari said Iraq’s proposed 2015 budget of $130 billion forecasts a deficit of $41 billion. He says he is trying to lower that to no more than $26 billion through major spending cuts and economic reforms.

Zebari said: “The war on ISIS, the requirements of defense, of volunteers, of salaries, of the equipment, military contracts, all these are major burdens,” using an alternative acronym for the Islamic State group.

He added: “We really need to cut spending and to tighten our belt. But we believe that this will be a temporary thing.”

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