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CPA Announces $18 Billion Iraq Jobs, Reconstruction Program

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 19, 2004 – A senior Coalition Provisional Authority official today announced an $18 billion jobs and reconstruction program for Iraq that aims to create 50,000 jobs by the June 30 handover of sovereignty.

The main purpose of the program "is to help rebuild your country," retired U.S. Navy Rear Adm. David Nash, director of the CPA's program management office, told Iraqis during a Baghdad news conference.

About $12.4 billion is earmarked for 2,300 construction projects spread across Iraq, Nash pointed out, to include roads, schools, power plants and other infrastructure work. Many projects funded by the program, he noted, should be up and running by March.

About a third of the $18 billion will be used for training Iraqis and purchasing needed equipment, he said.

The admiral noted that many contractors already had signed on, and that he hopes the program would provide 50,000 new jobs for Iraqis by the time the coalition returns sovereignty to the Iraqi people.

It would take three to four years, Nash estimated, to complete all of the projects funded by the program. He also noted that security would play an important role in the program's success.

Nash acknowledged that the U.S.-funded reconstruction program won't be able to address all of Iraq's infrastructure-renewal needs, but he expressed optimism that the international community also would pitch in toward the rebuilding process.

Iraqis participating in the reconstruction program will learn new skills, the admiral noted, and will assist Iraq in taking its rightful place among the nations of the world.

The program puts "Iraqi men and women back to work, providing decent, honorable jobs for all," Nash pointed out. "These jobs will bring the dignity of honest earnings to Iraqi families, while providing tangible improvements in the quality of life for all Iraqi families."


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