Just Water and Electricity
Early last month and on one of the satellite channels, a mature lady was saying, “Except for water and electricity, we want nothing.” Her complaint was an ultimate test: is the Governor of Kirkuk able to meet the basic needs of the city?
Due to my job in Kirkuk Now as wells as my being from Kirkuk, I do closely observe the situation of this province. Another event drew my attention when KNN interviewed the governor of Kirkuk, Nejmadin Karim. Someone phoned the channel from Kirkuk saying, “Imagine, the electricity went out twice here during this program of yours.” The governor responded as any other official: We have plans to improve electricity.
Electricity and Water are the basic necessities of any citizen, as their provision is the basic duty of any government. That is to say, if people were not provided with their basic needs, then the government has not fulfilled its basic duties. After nine years since the fall of the old regime, people have not been provided with their basic requirements, while electricity is supplied for less than 12 hours per day.
Let’s forget about the recent eight years, as they were allegedly full of ‘tension, obstacles, and limitations’. Now it has been ten months that the new governor has been in his post. He is the hope of most of the people of the city. The Iraqi way has it, “He’s been living abroad, he keeps his promises.” He is not curbed by the others. He has the full support of the president of the Kurdistan region as well as that of the Iraqi president to work. Now it’s time to fulfill his basic duty.
According to some information and press statements, the governor of Kirkuk has the major opportunity to improve electricity. Kirkuk needs 650 to 700 megawatts of power to be able to provide 20 hours of electricity per day. Meanwhile, it has only 450 megawatts. The information available tells us gaining such an amount of electricity is not hard for the Kirkuk administration. Early last month, the Iraqi government handed the administration two contracts to build two power stations through two foreign companies. The companies were South Korean and Iranian, and working in the Taza sub-district and the Dubis district.
The Iraqi Ministry of Electricity also completed the East Kirkuk Power Station, with 22 billion Iraqi dinars, which is supposed to reduce the electricity crisis in all the alleys of Kirkuk. Another opportunity is the promise of the Ministry of Electricity in Kurdistan to provide Kirkuk continually with 250 megawatts of power along with the promise of Shwan Factory to produce oil, gas, and asphalt to generate 150 megawatts of power if they are provided with five thousand tons of crude oil. The Kirkuk Provincial Council is also expected to return the lost 25 megawatts previously provided from the central government.
All of these along with the apparent increase in the petro-dollar as well as the Provincial Reconstruction budgets are opportunities for the Kirkuk governor to improve electricity and realize the demand of the lady.
Now, Nejmadin Karim is in front of a big test, where all the factions of Kirkuk are awaiting him to see his deeds. This year might be the last chance for him to realize his promises. With all those opportunities, he had been many times quoted as saying, “we have plans to improve electricity.” The demand of the Kirkukis is plain and not that hard; “Except for water and electricity, they demand nothing from the officials.” The Governor Karim might have opportunities that few officials had.